Gilby is fascinated by The Gruffalo. He would happily have that same story read to him every night, even though he knows it word for word and has fallen asleep on more than one occasion reciting the words aloud. For my own sanity I have to vary the choice of bedtime reading material. The Gruffalo's Child is second choice, not because he loves that story in the same way, but simply for the mention of the hallowed gruffalo itself.
Out walking the dog with me, or accompanying me in the car whilst driving down country lanes, Gilby will insist on searching for snake's log-pile house, fox's underground house and owl's tree-top house, because that way we might come across the gruffalo itself. These will be solemn, whispered, often urgent searches. See, I truly think he thinks that the gruffalo is real.
He definitely has something of the naturalist about him, even at two-and-a-half: he will always pick me flowers (will he still be doing that at fifteen, I wonder?), and can spend an inordinate amount of time appreciating a blade of grass. Today, for example, whilst we were at a birthday party and all the other children were busy on the treasure hunt, his 'treasure' was collecting dozens of sycamore leaves.
But I started to worry when he told me that the owls were 'talking to him' in the night. Was this a dream? I needed to get to the bottom of it. He was quite insistent about it, but wouldn't tell me what they were saying because they were talking to him. He even made the noises for me, which in fairness, were quite owl-like. It was only later when I saw collared doves fly off from roosting beneath his window that I realised it must have been their cooing he meant (not unlike the twit-twoo attributed to an owl.
So he doesn't talk to the animals, (yet), but is certainly convinced that they are communicating with him.
I wonder what that gruffalo will say, if he ever finds it.