Y Bachgen â Blodau yn ei Wallt/The boy with flowers in his hair - Jarvis [adapt. Awen Schiavone]
*For English review, see language toggle button*
(suggested) interest age: 3-7
(suggested) reading age: 4/5+
Welsh adaptation of 'The Boy with Flowers in His Hair'
Genre: #fiction #healthandwellbeing #empathy #bilingual #friendship
A beautiful story of friendship between two boys through a difficult time.
Everyone in the class loves Deio, the boy with flowers in his hair. The narrator of the story, who remains unnamed, enjoys spending time in his company, and the two have a lot of fun together.
I’m not sure why, but he has flowers instead of real hair. One day, a petal falls off, a sure sign of rough times ahead...
The book doesn't go into detail about what caused the petals to fall out of Deio’s hair, but the fact that he chooses to wear a hat from now on and the noticeable change in his personality are signs that something is wrong. Now, instead of the bubbly, energetic boy we met at the start, Deio is quiet and withdrawn. We don’t know how and why, but it's as if his 'spark' has disappeared.
It could well be that the petals are falling due to something that’s happened outside of school, perhaps a family matter or something else that’s obviously upsetting him. I agree with the author's decision not to reveal to us the cause, because it allows room for discussion about the sort of things that might be causing him to be sad. I know from experience that stress or trauma can have a visible, physical effect on us. For example, when I'm under a lot of pressure, I tend to get itchy scalp. It therefore makes sense that Deio’s petals fall off as he goes through a difficult time.
Now that Deio looks different without his beautiful bonce, the other children don’t want anything to do with his spikey, barren head. Apart from his best friend of course. He sticks with him and goes to great effort to devise ways of making him feel better. His "I've got you, buddy" attitude is really heart-warming. I’m thinking the flowers may be allegorical, depicting the side effects from a treatment such as chemotherapy (that would cause hair loss), but really, it could be just about anything.
Through the bad times and the good
The simple message is that real friendship means taking care of each other whatever comes, not just when times are good, but on the dark days as well.
Is it just me who loves hardbacks? I can’t get enough of them. The simple, colourful pictures work well against the plain, white background. In the days where books are increasingly over-the-top, it was nice to read a book with a toned-down style (reminiscent of classic books like The Tiger Who Came to Tea). You’ll have no problem reading the text, because it’s is so clear and legible.
One of the best things about this bilingual story is that some things are left deliberately vague, and as a result, the story allows for discussing several things around feelings, friendships etc. The idea of accepting people, as they are, however they look, is also alluded to.
I haven't read the story with a young child, but I’m thinking they may need the help of an adult to explain the deeper meaning of the falling petals? I’d be interested to hear from anyone who’s read the book. Did the child get the point straight away or did you need to chat about it?
· Helping each other/ showing empathy
· Accepting people who are different / inclusion / celebrating diversity