Blast from the Past: Grug

grugEarlier on this week I was strolling through QBD and ended up in the kid section.  There was nothing suprising in that, expect for once I was alone and not in the kid’s section searching out my son, mentally running through the negotations which would most likely take place to get him to leave.

When I look back there was no real reason to end up there, at the back of the store.  Then I turned and sitting on the shelf at eye level was Grug.

For my birthday when I was either six or seven I got Grug and the Green Paint. It is one of the books etched in my head.  My oldest friend Ty was also a fan of Grug … it was probably something be bonded over at some early point in our friendship. Other adult friends I have asked about Grug have just looked at me like I was the one to have recently taken a tumble from a Burrawang Tree!

Becoming a Mum gave me reason to search out Grug but until Wednesday he had alluded me.  And I never understood why – when there were Mr Men books, Clifford the Big Red Dog and other classics such as the Pokey Little Puppy and Saggy Baggy Elephant readily available.

When I placed my pile of books up to the counter to pay (I also had The Four Agreements and a collection of short stories about Mothers from prominent English authors) I mentioned to the lady I had been searching for years for Grug.  It turns out Grug’s been on a publishing hiatus for the last 17 year.

Grug is back in print with a new publisher, Simon and Schuster and the first 12 books in the series were released June 1st – the next 12 will be released July 1st.

A few things I didn’t know about Grug, or his creator Ted Prior (because these sorts of things are not necessarily important to you when you’re six):

  • Ted Prior is Australian
  • Grug by defalt is also Australia
  • There are 24 books in the series
  • Ted Prior’s resume includes stints as a police officer and art teacher
  • Grug started life as the grassy top of a Burrawang tree, until it fell off and changed into Grug
  • The first four Grug books  (Grug, Grug and the Big Red Apple, Grug and the Green Paint, Grug and his Garden) were published in 1979 (my first year at primary school)
  • The last four  Grug books (Grug Builds a Boat, Grug and his Kite, Grug Learns to Dance and Grug Goes Shopping) were published in 1992 (my first year a university!)

It is with great enthuasism the not-quite-five, but Just Reading Dylan devoured his first ever Grug, over and over again when he found it sitting on the table – I’d forgotten to hide it up in the presents cupboard with all the other books. IT took one read through with him and he was reading it back to us with only a few stumbles.

At $5.00 a copy teh Grug books are a cheap and effective way of getting kids, especially boys, interested in reading. A friend who owns a bookstore in Bega said they have stocked the Grug books. Her son has five already and is making a decisive effort to sit and read them independently.

With a birthday on the horizon and another 23 Grug books to collect – it is entirely possible I may hit Grug saturation point some time in the future.  Until then – I’ll just be chuffed I’ve become reacquainted with an old friend.

What books from your childhood have you or would you like to, share with your children?

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3 thoughts on “Blast from the Past: Grug

  1. I remember the Grug. I had them as a kid.

    The books I definitely want to share with my kids are the Goosebumps books, the originals. I’m not sure you can find them all but I remember loving them and they were probably my first inspiration to begin writing my own scary stories.

    I have a distant goal to one day write a YA horror story.

  2. Did you realise Grug was Australian Benjamin? I had no idea where he actually came from – perhaps because I only had the one where he went crazy with the green paint. Or as kid it doesn’t matter that much to you.

    I never read any of the Goosebumps series. As a teenager there wasn’t the array of Young Adult fiction there is now. Put your story down – after all Young Adult ficton is the faster growing section of the market!

  3. I had no idea, but I guess you don’t think about those things when you’re that age.

    You should certainly check them out. They’re good. Actually suspenseful and well formed stories even compared to adult horror.

    I had an idea once upon a time but it went. If a YA idea returns I’ll have no choice but to write it down.

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