Feb 06

GEN!US Moment #2: Julia Donaldson

Name: Julia Donaldson (Profession: Children’s Book Author)

In the 1990s, the children’s author Julia Donaldson decided to write a book about a Tiger, but she faced a bit of a problem.

Donaldson’s preference is for writing books using rhyming couplets, but she soon discovered that there aren’t many words in the English language that rhyme with ‘Tiger’.

Yup, like ‘silver’ and ‘orange’, when it comes to poetry Tiger’s a bit of a dead-end word.

So what did she do ?

Well, she DIDN’T do what most of us would have done, which is forget about tigers altogether and choose something much easier to write about like a ‘cat’, which obviously rhymes with ‘mat’, ‘bat’ and ‘hat.’

Instead, she decided to use a little ‘Cunningly Clever Creativity’ and play around with the SOUND a tiger makes instead.

This lead her on to think about how Tigers often growl with a great big ‘GRRRRRRRR’…

As a consequence, she soon had a ‘genius moment’. What if she could create a brand new character for her book with a GRRR-sounding name ?

As a result, she went on to craft the award-winning and mega-selling ‘GRUFFALO’ story (about a monster who lives in a forest  who is outwitted by a remarkably clever mouse).

And the point of this blog ?

It is simply to highlight how (in terms of GEN!US) if you play around with an idea – rather than ditching it the moment life gets tricky – it could take you to more interesting places than you originally set out to find…