It’s not often that you get to see things from a child’s perspective, or step into a real life storybook. But the ‘A World Inside A Book: Gruffalos Dragons and other Creatures’ exhibition at the Z - Arts centre in Manchester, lets you do exactly that. Interactive, immersive and imaginative, this exhibition captures the magic of Julia Donaldson’s beloved books and brings Axel Scheffler’s iconic characters to life.
It all starts with your little ones entering a room, dressed exactly the same as the living room from the story ‘Charlie Cook’s favourite book’. There, a narrator explains how, with just a little magic it’s possible to jump inside the pages of a book. The children are then treated to a reading of The Gruffalo, before a magical world is revealed.....
The exhibition that awaits your children to explore is truly amazing. Every nook and cranny features a quote, a quiz or a scene from a story. So whether your little babe wants to go to dragon school with Zog, feel like a giant walking through a miniature town or cast a spell with interactive ingredients from Room on the Broom, there is something for every child to enjoy.
Children are encouraged to be hands on - explore, solve puzzles, even dress up as their favourite characters. It’s fully interactive, which lets face it, is what kids love.
Little ones can work their through their favourite tales, with absolute glee - there is so much to take in and discover. Personally, I really like how the set up allows them to explore at their own pace - there isn’t a structured route around the exhibit and there’s enough to see and do that there doesn’t have to be a queue situation - although it may
be a squash and a squeeze at times!
Attention to detail is what makes this truly memorable; hidden animals in trees, tiny adverts posted on the village notice board, even a glimpse of Tiddler under the sea, from portholes onboard a big red boat. The books really are brought to life. There’s even a screening of Stickman showing in an adjoining room.
The exhibition is very similar in feel and fun to another fab event we visited in the summer - ‘Roald Dahl’s Wondrous World’ at the Rheged Centre in Penrith, though ‘A World Inside a Book’ is a little more bijou in size.
In a world of iPads, this shows how it’s cool to be a bookworm. And there’s something really nice about letting your kids get lost in a story instead of cyber space. Heart warming, nostalgic and full of whimsy - just like the books themselves.
The exhibition runs for 12 months until February 2020 - and we will certainly be visiting again. Simply magical.