Bitesize Episode 20 - A Modern British Commentary on The Gruffalo

Sep 28 / Charlie Baxter

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What's this episode about?

Learn British English & about British culture in this episode where Charlie, your host, 
In this episode Charlie takes a look at a classic Children's book and adds commentary as a modern British person. Let's see if the author's writing of The Gruffalo goes down well with Charlie.

This is a bitesize episode that will give you your fix of The British English Podcast with plenty of native expressions for you to learn from in context. Enjoy!

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By Charlie Baxter

Bitesize Episodes (17-32)
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Transcript of Bitesize Ep 20 Transcript

Charlie:
Hello and welcome to another bite size episode of the British English podcast with your host, Charlie Baxter. This one is another reaction to a classic children's book. I've selected another British one that was written not too long ago, actually in the late 90s, and it has some really nice illustrations for kids and parents to enjoy. And it is The Gruffalo. Yes, The Gruffalo is a big, hairy monster, but I'll get straight into it as it is a bite sized one. Although I do want to pre warn you that this story, although a children's book, uses a nice scattering of advanced verbs and adjectives. So grab that free worksheet for some of them. Or you can join the Premium podcast for the extended glossary and transcripts. And then we have The Academy, which has a whole world of learning resources waiting for you over on the www.thebritishenglishpodcast.com, but I will tell you more about that later on. So for now at least, grab the free worksheet to help you listen along to The Gruffalo. Let's begin.

Narrator:
A mouse took a stroll through the deep, dark wood. A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.

Charlie:
The mouse looked good. I think we all know that the fox wants to eat the mouse here to look good. You look good, or somebody looks good, could be suggesting that they like them romantically. And other ways to say you look good could be 'she's a bit of all right'. 'She's a bit of all right' or 'he's a bit of all right'. 'She's buff', 'he's buff'. 'She's fit', 'he's fit.' So 'fit', 'buff', 'bit of all right'. Yeah, those will suffice. There are loads, but- and each generation has their own version. But yeah, we can leave it there.

Charlie:
Americans, though they don't use fit, they think of just being athletic or sporty when you say fit. But yeah, Brits mean romantically desirable. But the mouse was not fit in the Fox's eyes, like a British person would say fit. Oh, a woman can be foxy. You can- yeah, you can call a woman foxy, foxy, foxy. But it's a bit more dated. It's certainly not my generation that used it, and if you did, it would be with sarcasm. So, yeah, the Fox thinks the Mouse is tasty. I'd say the Fox saw the Mouse and the Mouse looked highly calorific, but totally worth every mouthful. Yeah, that would be more accurate. I would know that they're talking about eating the Mouse rather than dating the Mouse, although that description was in itself a bit of a mouthful so we could just keep it to 'the Mouse looked good'.

Narrator:
A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.

Fox:
"Where are you going to, little brown Mouse? Come and have lunch in my underground house!"

Charlie:
If you didn't know, foxes live in dens underground, it's called a fox den. So no sea view in a foxes home. It's a shame.

Mouse:
"Oh, it's terribly kind of you, Fox. But no, I'm going to have lunch with a Gruffalo!"

Fox:
"A Gruffalo. What's a Gruffalo?"

Mouse:
"A Gruffalo? Why, didn't you know? He has terrible tusks and terrible claws, and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws!"

Charlie:
Mm. See what the mouse is doing here? Clever, sneaky little mouse trying to get out of an innocent playdate or luncheon with a foxy, sexy fox?

Charlie:
I mean, we don't know if, if they're sexy, we just know that the Fox wants to eat a highly calorific treat, don't we? Let's see. Does he get to eat the little treat?

Fox:
"And where are you meeting him?"

Mouse:
"Here, by the rocks. And his favourite food is roasted fox."

Charlie:
Just to confirm we do not eat roasted fox in the UK. We love a roast, but traditionally we have a chicken, beef or lamb roast. And on Christmas Day, we roast a big, fat turkey. So, yeah, no foxes. Hmm. I imagine they would taste a bit- a bit like a pile of rubbish, actually, because foxes that choose a city life in the UK are known for rummaging through our bin bags late at night and causing a right mess on the streets. So, yeah, only The Gruffalo eats roasted fox, supposedly.

Fox:
"Roasted fox? Oh, I'm off!"

Narrator:
Fox said, "Good bye, little mouse!" And away he sped.

Mouse:
"Silly old fox! Doesn't he know there's no such thing as a Gruffalo!"

Narrator:
On went The Mouse through the deep dark wood, an Owl saw The Mouse and The Mouse looked good.

Charlie:
Here we go. Another pervy predator hitting on this poor little mouse. Let's see what this owl's go-to chat up line is.

Owl:
"Where are you going to little brown mouse? Come and have tea in my tree top house!"

Charlie:
Hmm. I'd actually be quite up for that. A tree-top house. Sounds fun. I know the result would be that the Owl would eat me, but you know, you'd be going out with a lovely view, at least. But I'm sure the Mouse is wiser than me.

Charlie:
While I hope you are enjoying this episode, I would like to let you know that the doors are closing to the British English Podcast Academy on September 30th, 2021, meaning you will not be able to sign up to The Academy after that date until the doors reopen, which won't be for a while. So if you are interested in boosting your English speaking confidence by breaking beyond that intermediate plateau, then check out The Academy and sign up before enrolment closes at midnight on September 30th.

Charlie:
The Academy gives you access to all three parts of bonus episodes, along with manually edited transcripts and extended glossaries. The same with bite sized episodes and then the season based episodes have vocabulary review videos, audios and pronunciation practise exercises along with quizzes, flashcards, writing assignments and more, basically giving you a whole world of learning resources around your favourite episodes. And then once you've internalised the content, you get to practise it in the weekly speaking classes that are included in The Academy. And honestly, I'm amazed at how quickly members of The Academy are improving. I think back to their first calls and compared to now they have come on so far and sound so, so natural in their delivery of incredibly colloquial language. So I'm really proud of what they have achieved and would love to see you do the same. But yes, sign up before it's too late because it's closing time when the clocks chime midnight on September 30th, 2021, so find the relevant link in the show notes or simply search www.thebritishenglishpodcast.com/academy Right, back to the episode.

Owl:
"Where are you going to little brown Mouse? Come and have tea in my tree top house!"

Mouse:
"Oh, it's frightfully nice of you, Owl. But no, I'm going to have tea with a Gruffalo!

Owl:
"A Gruffalo. What's a Gruffalo?"

Mouse:
"A Gruffalo? Why, didn't you know? He has knobbly knees and turned out toes and a poisonous wart at the end of his nose."

Charlie:
I told you. Some pretty interesting vocabulary. So go grab that free worksheet in the show notes or just type in www.thebritishenglishpodcast.com/freebies Freebies is spelled F R E E B I E S. Go grab it.

Owl:
"Ooh! Where are you meeting him?"

Mouse:
"Oh, here by this stream. And his favourite food is owl ice cream."

Charlie:
Now that is a flavour I've not heard of. I have heard of some pretty crazy Ben and Jerry's flavours in my time, like Peanuts and Popcorn. Chubby Hubby and even Wavy Gravy. Ugh. But 'owl ice cream'? You've got feathers, bones and and meat in the ice cream. It would taste very gamey. Yeah. Again, British people don't eat owls, guys. We don't eat owls. But if we did, we wouldn't have it with ice cream. We'd have the ice cream afterwards, wouldn't we? Yeah, we would have that to wash it down. We'd have the ice cream to wash it down. Yeah.

Owl:
"Owl ice cream? Too whit too whoo! Good bye, little Mouse!

Narrator:
And away Owl flew.

Mouse:
"Silly old owl. Doesn't he know, there's no such thing as a Gruffalo?"

Narrator:
On went the Mouse through the deep, dark wood. A snake saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.

Charlie:
The deep, dark wood. This mouse is not getting it, is he? It's dangerous in the deep, dark wood. You're going to meet lots of predators that want to eat you. You're asking for trouble, really. But I suppose this cocky mouse thinks his excuse of- of going to see the Gruffalo is bulletproof.

Snake:
"Where are you going to little brown Mouse? Come for a feast in my log pile house!"

Mouse:
"It's wonderfully good of you, Snake. But no, I'm having a feast with a Gruffalo."

Snake:
"A Gruffalo. What's a Gruffalo?"

Mouse:
"A Gruffalo? Why, didn't you know? His eyes are orange. His tongue is black. He has purple prickles all over his back."

Snake:
"Where are you meeting him?"

Mouse:
"Here, by this lake. And his favourite food is scrambled snake."

Snake:
"Scrambled snake? It's time I hid. Goodbye, little mouse!"

Narrator:
And away Snake slid.

Mouse:
"Silly old snake. Doesn't he know there's no such thing as a Gruff- Oh, but who is this creature with terrible claws and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws? He has knobbly knees and turned out toes and a poisonous wart at the end of his nose!"

Charlie:
Now, if the kid who reads this with their parent hasn't guessed who it is yet, then I can imagine the parent is having to come to terms with the fact that their child might not be the next Einstein. No. Another thing that came up for me is that so many children's books include monsters. You know, we've got The Gruffalo. Spoiler alert, it is a monster. Then we've got The Wolf from The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood. I wonder if it is the same wolf. Although I think- no, the Big Bad Wolf from The Three Little Pigs wouldn't dare cross dress as a granny just to eat a little girl. He prefers juicy bacon, from what I recall.

Charlie:
Anyway, there's a theme in most of these stories to include a terrible monster, which perplexes me. We're so precious about taking care of our children in most societies. Nowadays, many parents try to wrap their children in cotton wool when it comes to, you know, guns and violence and swear words and anything with sexual connotations. And yet, here we are very accustomed to scaring the bejesus out of these children with all these monsters, and this is just before bedtime. I did hear that our overly active imagination as a child about a monster living under the bed is from what Evolutionary Psychologists say is part of the innate fear that wild cats, like sabre toothed tigers, instilled in us through the hundreds of thousands of years we lived side-by-side.

Charlie:
But I say, sod that, you know. Such a PhD, it's nothing to do with that. It's the fact that we're forcing these children's books on them just before they go to bed. Honestly, I think I would have slept a lot sounder without my parents reminding me of all the monsters in the world that I thought were non-fiction books, but later turned out to be fiction. Anyway, back to finding out about the monster in this story.

Narrator:
His eyes are orange and his tongue is black, and he has purple prickles all over his back.

Mouse:
"Oh. Oh, help! Oh no, it's a Gruffalo!"

Charlie:
Are you ready for this voice? It's pretty rogue. All right.

Mouse:
"Oh no, it's a Gruffalo!"

The Gruffalo:
"Ho, my favourite food!"

Narrator:
The Gruffalo said.

The Gruffalo:
"You'll taste good on a slice of bread."

Mouse:
"Good?"

Narrator:
Said the mouse.

Mouse:
"Don't call me good. I'm the scariest creature in this wood. Just walk behind me and you'll see everyone is afraid of me."

The Gruffalo:
"Yeah. Oh oh, oh right."

Narrator:
Said the Gruffalo, bursting with laughter.

The Gruffalo:
"You go ahead and I'll follow after."

Narrator:
They walked and walked till the Gruffalo said,

The Gruffalo:
"I hear a hiss in the leaves ahead."

Mouse:
"It's Snake!"

Narrator:
Said the mouse.

The Gruffalo:
"Why, Snake, hello!"

Narrator:
Snake took one look at the Gruffalo.

Snake:
"Oh, crumbs! Goodbye, little mouse!"

Narrator:
And off he slid to his log pile house.

Mouse:
"You see?"

Narrator:
Said the mouse.

Mouse:
"I told you so."

The Gruffalo:
"Amazing!"

Narrator:
Said the Gruffalo.

Charlie:
All right. Admittedly, this is a very clever mouse we have on our hands. But still, he's playing with fire here, assuming that he's only going to bump into the three animals that he bumped into on the way through the woods in the first place. Surely that's pretty unlikely in a real world where there are no monsters under the bed.

Narrator:
They walked some more till the Gruffalo said,

The Gruffalo:
"I hear a hoot in the trees ahead."

Narrator:
"It's owl,"

Narrator:
Said the mouse.

Charlie:
I introduce to you, ladies and gentlemen, the flukiest mouse in the woods.

Mouse:
"Why, Owl, hello!"

Narrator:
Owl took one look at the Gruffalo.

Owl:
"Oh dear!"

Narrator:
He said.

Owl:
"Good bye, little mouse!"

Narrator:
And off he flew to his treetop house.

Mouse:
"You see?"

Narrator:
Said the mouse.

Mouse:
"I told you so!"

The Gruffalo:
"Astounding!"

Narrator:
Said the Gruffalo. They walked some more till the Gruffalo said,

The Gruffalo:
"I hear feet on the path ahead."

Mouse:
"It's Fox,"

Narrator:
Said the mouse.

Mouse:
"Why, Fox, hello!"

Narrator:
Fox took one look at the Gruffalo,

Fox:
"Oh help!",

Narrator:
He said.

Fox:
"Good bye, little mouse."

Narrator:
And off he ran to his underground house.

Mouse:
"Well, Gruffalo,"

Narrator:
Said the mouse.

Mouse:
"You see? Everyone is afraid of me! But now my tummy is beginning to rumble. And my favourite food is Gruffalo crumble."

Charlie:
Oh, I really like that ending. So that was The Gruffalo by Juliette Donaldson, and, as I said, some lovely illustrations to go with the actual book. But yeah, a cocky mouse. It shows that confidence is everything, isn't it? Maybe as language learners, we can learn from this cocky little shit because as I know, you know, confidence is a huge part of becoming fluent in a foreign language. I'm certainly aware of that with my Spanish studies, and I'm also really proud to see that those who have joined The Academy on www.thebritishenglishpodcast.com have gained a huge amount of speaking confidence. And I also really like how they're genuinely getting a grip on the native pairings of advanced phrases and collaborations around these really difficult, advanced native colloquial expressions.

Charlie:
And as I said, The Academy doors are closing to new sign ups on September 30th 2021. So if you were thinking of joining to boost your speaking skills, then now is the time to do it. Because after the clocks chime midnight at the end of September, you will not be able to join until I feel ready to open the doors again, which won't be for a long time. So, yeah. Head over to www.thebritishenglishpodcast.com and at least try the free sample of The Academy if you haven't yet, as there is a huge amount of learning to enjoy in just that free sample and then make an educated decision before September 30th. All right, that's all from me today. I've been your host, Mouse, Fox, Snake, Owl, and The Gruffalo.

Charlie:
I did warn you that Gruffalo Voice was pretty rogue, but I just usually go by the name Charlie Baxter. See you next time on The British English Podcast.

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Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

Character: Mike:
Alright geezer, how's it going?

Character: Chris:
Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

Character: Mike:
Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

Character: Chris:
Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

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Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

Character: Chris:
Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

Character: Emily:
Oh, hi.

Character: Chris:
I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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About Your Teacher

Charlie Baxter

Teacher, Podcast Host, YouTuber
Charlie is the host and creator of The British English Podcast & Academy. He has also been an active YouTube English Teacher since 2016 but after seeing how many of his students wanted a more structured, carefully designed way to study he decided to create The British English Podcast Academy.

It focuses on British culture, informal expressions, accent and history that is all unique to the UK.

Charlie has spent 6000+ hours teaching intermediate-advanced students since 2014 privately on Skype and has seen a lot of different styles of learning and while he believes there will never be a single CORRECT way to improve your English there are a large number of methods that people use that do waste people's time and prevent them from improving quickly.

So Charlie decided to create The Academy because he believes he knows a VERY effective way to improve your English quickly and enjoyably.
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