29 January 2009
Three new humorous books from Stòrlann for the secondary school, Droch ràith Mairead, Droch shaoghal BJ and Shenanigan's Shen. Each of the three main characters give their accounts of humorous incidents involving those living with them. The stories in each of the three books involve the same characters and intertwine to produce a series which adults will enjoy as much as children. The style of writing is suitable for both learners and fluent speakers of all levels in the secondary school. The series of books is accompanied by a double which has been recorded in both fluent and learner format. We hope you enjoy reading these books and would encourage you to get in touch with us with any views.
Have you ever read a book and thought, “I wish I’d written that?” Well, I’ve just read three of them – three attractive, little books written by C M MacLennan for young pupils published by Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig. And I was also able to listen to them on CDs which contain a good audio version of the books. One CD is suitable for learners and one for fluent speakers.
A common thread runs through the three books: “Droch Ràith Mairead”, “Shenanigans Shen!” and “Droch Shaoghal BJ”. The books are suitable for youngsters who are learning Gaelic and for those who are fluent – but one old man enjoyed them also! The books are short, but it would be inappropriate to give too much away as that would spoil the reader’s experience.
All three books are in natural, fluent, contemporary Gaelic, sprinkled with occasional English words and phrases, as you would expect to hear from youngsters. This shouldn’t bother the reader because it reflects the world in which we live, and there’s no need for a dictionary.
The books are imaginatively written. Members of the same family appear in each book as they recount their problems and difficulties, very often with a special humour. The author’s craft and skill are evident in all the books and attractive illustrations complement the text. Although the books are aimed at children, adults would also enjoy them.
“Droch Ràith Mairead” (Margaret’s Misfortune) is presented in six examples (in the form of short chapters). Poor Margaret! How we sympathise with her; a girl who, to her own mind, has very difficult personal circumstances. And “Droch Shaoghal BJ” (BJ’s Terrible Situation) – you’ll find out why he’s called “BJ”– his story is full of strange events, ranging from electricity to a tractor, from the police to sheep.
I enjoyed “Shenanigans Shen!” (Shen’s Shenanigans) especially. The author succeeds in teasing us with her humour and I think this is the strongest of the books, but that is a personal opinion. Perhaps we all knew of someone’s grandfather who is brought to mind by Shen. A mischievous character, by all accounts, who had a great capacity for telling stories – and also for making them up! A mischievous fellow indeed.
Each book is approximately the same length – less than thirty pages. And that makes them particularly suitable for youngsters. These books certainly won’t send them to sleep and the CDs provide a good backup. The books are designed for children, and they are about children although Shen is also important, and that should ensure a wide readership.
Stòrlann is to be congratulated for bringing these books to print, and we hope they continue to publish this type of material. We also hope to see more from from C M MacLennan’s skilled mind and hand. What a pity that Gaelic books like these didn’t exist in my youth and I recommend them to any youngster with Gaelic, who is learning Gaelic or with an interest in Gaelic.
(translated from Gaelic original)
Donald John MacIver