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The Gruffalo: ‘Scent kits’ created to bring book to life for visually impaired children

Written by on 17 March 2021

A charity supporting children with visual impairments has released “scent kits” to accompany The Gruffalo book as a way of making reading more inclusive for families.

Guide Dogs UK created the nasal inhalers to go with the main characters of the book – including the Gruffalo, Mouse, Fox, Owl and Snake.

Mouse smells like cupcakes, Fox has the scent of cut grass, Owl has a cup of tea aroma, and Snake has a smoky scent.

The Gruffalo has a leathery barnyard smell that evokes the deep, dark wood.

Guide Dogs UK has produced a kit of nasal inhalers to represent the Gruffalo and the four creatures who meet him Image: Guide Dogs UK has produced a set of nasal inhalers to represent the Gruffalo and the four creatures who meet him

The “scent kits” are said to be world first – and the aim of the project is to highlight the experiences of children with sight loss and how adaptations can make the world more inclusive.

Currently, around 28,000 children in the UK suffer from sight loss, and a further 1,500 are expected to start losing their vision this year.

Everly Attride, aged four, became visually impaired after being born with a brain condition.

Hannah Attride's 4-year-old daughter Everly was born with a brain condition and after an operation, she became visually impaired Image: Hannah Attride’s four-year-old daughter Everly was born with a brain condition and later became visually impaired

Her mother, Hannah Attride, told Sky News: “Usually with Everly, everything is about her being slightly different… but this is actually something that hasn’t set her apart because every child knows and loves The Gruffalo, it’s been really inclusive.”

She also said that “adding another element” to books has been “really exciting for Everly”.

“She has taken the book into school to show it off, she’s so proud of it.”

Four-year-old Everly Image: For Everly, the project has been ‘really exciting’, says her mother

Roger Whalley also reads the book with his eight-year-old daughter, Josie.

He said: “The support from Guide Dogs’ Children and Young People services has been life-changing for our family.

“Not only in helping us navigate Josie’s sight loss journey but also for building her confidence through teaching her life skills and providing opportunities for us to meet other families going through a similar experience.”

Roger Whalley said the kit was Image: Mr Whalley with his children Josie and Wolf

Kerry Kernan, Guide Dogs children and young people national service operations manager, said: “We know that bed-time family reading is so important as a child, and we just know it holds a special place, so we thought we could enhance this experience by letting children lose themselves in a sensory journey and share that with their whole family.”

“The charity worked with families and young people to think about what smell each of the characters would be associated with to create the inhalers,” Ms Kernan added.

In partnership with publishers Macmillan Children’s Books and Magic Light Pictures, Guide Dogs UK is giving 150 scent kits to families with visually impaired children that it supports.