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Y Llew Frenin [adapt.Mared Llwyd]

(suggested) reading age: 6+

(suggested) interest age: 5-11


The topic of original books vs adaptations comes up from time to time, with some being very critical of adaptations because they feel they are being published at the expense of original books. Not all adaptations are equal either; whilst some are decent, the language in some of them doesn't always flow naturally. But whatever you think of them, the truth is, like everything in life, you need balance. We need both types of books, and adaptations play an important role in a minority language context, bolstering our supply of available books on a range of topics. One would hope that people unfamiliar with original Welsh books would start off by reading familiar adaptations, and that would open the door to more home-grown Welsh books.

There’s no brand more familiar around the world than Disney, and it's important that our children can read about their favourite well-known characters through the medium of Welsh. Working in the library, I came across this series by accident whilst sorting the shelves in the kids area. I had a quick flick through, liked the look of it, and took it home to have a proper look at it.

These books are well suited for young children who are just starting to read independently. I’d say anything up from 6-9 years old, depending on the individual. For younger readers, there’s quite a bit of text, but it is set in a clear font on white background, mostly. I will admit I'm a bit of a nerd about fonts, and annoying ones get under my skin (comic sans anyone?). I have no idea what this font is called, but I think it's amongst the best for young readers, because it's so clear and legible.

The translator, Mared Llwyd, is an experienced teacher working in Welsh language support. The language has been thoroughly looked at and revised so it’s very suitable for the target audience. Apparently, they’ve followed the criteria set out in the National Literacy Framework when considering the challenge level of the text. If you scan the QR code on the back of the book, you'll get several free worksheets, which are very handy for passing the time on a rainy Sunday afternoon. These include some comprehension questions.

One thing I wasn’t keen on was fact that they translated the name of the baddie lion from the film, Scar, into ‘Craith’. I know it’s technically correct, but for me it just ruined it somehow. Maybe I’m too familiar with the characters already because I grew up in the 90s Disney era. Anyway, I’m sure that saying Scar would have worked just fine in Cymraeg– you could just say it with a strong Welsh accent!  

There are several other titles in the Disney Agor y Drws series, and all the date stamps on the front of this library copy show me that this one’s popular with borrowers. After reading about the Y Llew Frenin, I'll have to rewatch the film now- the tunes were so catchy weren’t they?


How cool is it that we're able to read about all these well-known characters in our own language?


Released: Jan 2023

Publisher: Rily

Price: £4.99

Series: Disney Agor y Drws

Format: Hardback


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