We have redesigned our website.

A few things have changed (for the better) and others may have moved around a bit. You can browse our library here, log in to your library membership account here or join here. If you get stuck give us a ring on 01635 299 771.

Living Paintings

Celebrating Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler books for blind children!

2nd June 2020

It all started with a mouse. A mouse who took a stroll through a deep dark wood…

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s first joint creation The Gruffalo, published in 1999, was an instant hit with children. To date, the book has sold over 13.5 million copies worldwide. The Living Paintings publishing team knew they simply had to make a Touch to See version so that blind and partially sighted children could, like their peers, take their own steps into that wood and meet the Gruffalo for themselves.

Since adapting The Gruffalo with the support of Julia, Axel and the publisher, Living Paintings has gone on to adapt a further seven of the duo’s best-selling children’s picture books, plus another title by Julia Donaldson with pictures by Nick Sharratt. Another of Donaldson’s titles, What the Ladybird Heard with illustrations by Lydia Monk is currently in production, for release in autumn 2020 as is Tiddler, also by the Donaldson/Scheffler duo.

As with all of our Touch to See children’s books, the following titles are free for library members to borrow – whether that’s at home, school or in a care setting – and feature braille throughout in UEB 1 and 2, plus descriptive audio guides.

Martin Freeman sitting in studio, smiling, and holding The Smeds and The Smoos book.

The Smeds and The Smoos by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

British actor Martin Freeman lends his voice to his second Living Paintings title in this, an alien take on Romeo and Juliet. Two young aliens from different clans meet and fall in love, much to the disapproval of their families. Will there be heart ache or will love conquer all? Features hand-painted tactile pictures of Janet & Bill sitting on a rock, 5 aliens and a rocket, Grandma Smoo and Grandpa Smed, and Baby & Gruffalo Toad.

Click here to borrow the Smeds and the Smoos.

Martin Freeman reads the Smeds and the Smoos

Now, what a treat we have here, another story from the brilliant storytelling duo Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. This story has gone interstellar and is set in space, with a variety of wonderful aliens and colourful planets.
The rocket has three round windows and a pointed nose cone with a big window. On the far left, grey smoke is pluming out of the base of the rocket and a yellow cable is attached here too. Perhaps the rocket is fuelling up and is nearly ready for lift-off! (SFX rocket taking off)
Come on Smeds, quickly climb on board! (SFX rocket)
The picture below shows the blue rocket zooming through space – orange and yellow flames firing out. There’s three windows with blue and red faces peeping out! Hooray the Smeds have joined the Smoos to search for Bill and Janet.

The Gruffalo tactile picture

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

The original. A wonderful rhyming story featuring a mouse and a monster. To scare off his enemies, the little mouse invents tales of a fantastical creature called the Gruffalo. So imagine his surprise when he meets the real Gruffalo! With tactile images of Snake and Mouse, Owl, Squirrel and Fox, and the Gruffalo.

Click here to borrow the Gruffalo.

The Gruffalo's Child, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. The Gruffalo sitting in the middle of a snowy forest with a little baby Gruffalo sitting on his knee.

The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

The Gruffalo said that no Gruffalo should ever set foot in the deep dark wood. But one wild and windy night, the Gruffalo’s child ignores her father’s warning and tiptoes out into the snow. After all, the Big Bad Mouse doesn’t really exist – does he? With four pages of tactile pictures, braille and audio guide.

Click here to borrow the Gruffalo’s Child.

Room on the Broom, tactile picture of witch and a page from the book

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

A witch and her cat fly over forests, rivers and mountains on their broomstick until a stormy wind blows away the witch’s hat, bow and wand. They are retrieved by a dog, a bird and a frog, but each animal asks for a ride. Is there room on the broom? Features tactile pictures of the witch and her cauldron, the broom with cat, dog and bird, and a red dragon.

Click here to borrow Room on the Broom.

Front cover of 'The Snail and the Whale' next to a tactile picture of the whale, snail and rock.

The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

This book by the award-winning Gruffalo partnership is about a tiny snail who longs to see the world, and the enormous grey-blue humpback whale who gives him a lift around the world. But when disaster strikes and the whale is beached in a bay, it is the tiny snail who saves the day. Features descriptive audio with the voice of actor Rachael Stirling.

Click here to borrow the Snail and the Whale

Young library member Ted holding up a tactile copy of Stick Man by Julia Donaldson

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

“Stick Man lives in the family tree With his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three.” But it’s dangerous being a Stick Man. A dog wants to play with him, a swan builds her nest with him. He even ends up on a fire! Will Stick Man ever get back to the family tree? With an audio guide voiced by actor Martin Freeman.

Click here to borrow Stick Man

fingers touching a tactile image of Zog

Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

TV personality Mel Giedroyc voices the audio guide for our Touch to See version of this funny and exciting story.

Zog is the keenest dragon in school. He’s also the most accident-prone. Luckily, a mysterious little girl always comes by and patches up his bumps and bruises. But will she be able to help him with his toughest test: capturing a princess?

Click here to borrow Zog

Tactile pictures and front cover of One Mole Digging a Hole

One Mole Digging a Hole by Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt

All the animals are busy lending a hand in the garden in this lively numbers book. Counting and gardening have never been so much fun! With tactile pictures of Mole and Snake, Bear and Fox, Stork, Parrot and Frog, and Crow, Dove and Bee.

Click here to borrow One Mole Digging a Hole

Tactile images of a cow and ladybird on a leaf

What the Ladybird Heard and Tiddler

Also, coming soon… What the Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks, and Tiddler by Donaldson/Scheffler. Head to the library to reserve your copy and sign up to our newsletter to be the first to find out when they’re released.

A mobile phone sitting on a wooden table top and wrapped in earphones displays the Living Paintings website.

Subscribe to our email updates.

  • We won’t pass your details onto anyone else, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy