Happy St David's Day!

Wales is a land steeped in legend and mythology, offering a wealth of fabulous stories to explore with children. And what better day than St David's day to share some ideas of re-tellings to use in school!

The 'Legends of Wales' series offers an excellent introduction  to some of these tales.Beautifully illustrated by Jac Jones, the series is colourful and attractive, but the style of picture varies from text to text, suiting  the content of the story- sinister and dark in 'The Changling', comic and light in 'Sion and the Bargain Bee.' 

'The Other Eye', retold by Daniel Morden, is a dark tale - 'one of the most mysterious of Welsh legends'. A mother is taken from her family by the Tywyth Teg and something 'shaped to look like her' is left in her place...

In contrast, 'Sion and the Bargain Bee' (by Jenny Sullivan) is a humorous tale in which Sion is sent to market to sell the cow. Sounds like 'Jack and the Beanstalk'? Well, Sion ends up with a club, a bottle containing a bee and a music box. Then the fun begins...

Malachy Doyle's 'The Changling' tells the story of a human child  exchanged for a baby from the fairy world and the family's determination to get him back.

In 'Gwion and the Witch', Jenny Nimmo re-tells one of the best known Welsh legends- the making of Taliesin, the Welsh bard. 'Branwen' is her version of a tale from the Mabinogi (Welsh stories) about love and loyalty, jealousy and cruelty. Both of these tales are beautifully crafted, using a rich vocabulary, making them a pleasure to read aloud.

 

And finally (because I have to stop...), 'The Seal Children' told and illustrated by Jackie Morris explores the Selkie and the legend that says if you find a Selkie's skin, you can keep them a prisoner on land until they find their skin again. With lovely watercolours bringing the story to life, this is a real treasure of a book. The author's note at the back of the book gives the story a real setting of a village near where Jackie Morris lives.

Welsh mythology and folklore is well worth exploring. Hopefully, these books will offer a way in...