Pwyll a Rhiannon - Aidan Saunders [Welsh words - Mererid Hopwood]
*For English, see language toggle switch on top of page*
Reading age: 7+
Interest age: 7-11+
Following the success of Branwen, author/illustrator Aidan Saunders @printwagon is back with a new volume that reimagines a story from the first branch of The Mabinogi, the story of Pwyll and Rhiannon. These myths and legends are an important part of our Celtic storytelling tradition, and have been told and re-told throughout the centuries. I hope this book will succeed in introducing the wonderful mythology of The Mabinogi to a new generation of young readers. I believe that the author has wisely selected which its to include and which ones to omit when creating a fresh and contemporary version of an old story.
With its unusual long, narrow shape and it’s impressive lino print artwork, this distinctive book demands your attention as you glance past it on the bookshelf. We tend to forget about pictures in books by the time we reach the 7+ age group so I’m delighted to see a book that celebrates having illustrations to look at, making it abundantly clear that picture books are suitable for older children as well as younger ones. You’ll be fascinated by the author’s work, which looks like a beautiful medieval tapestry, with all sorts of subtle nods to ancient Celtic life.
Without going into too much detail, we have here the story of Pwyll Pendefig Dyfed, [Prince of Dyfed], a man chosen by the strong-willed and mysterious Rhiannon to be her husband. There's only one small problem, she's supposed to marry someone else! I wonder if there’s going to be a happy ever after with this one? I doubt it’ll be that simple – this is the Mabinogi, after all. You’re in for a treat – you’ll get a story full of adventure, passion, treachery, violence and some helpings of sorcery to go with that that!
One of the unique advantages of this book is the fact that it contains Mererid Hopwood's perfectly adapted text directly opposite the English words, which means that the book's appeal reaches a wider audience. Given the bilingual nature of modern-day Wales, I’d like to see more bilingual books like this one coming to market.
A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Books Council of Wales.