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Shoes sparkle with the poems

It is Friday afternoon and Wales's youngest Bardd Plant has a room full of six-year-olds spellbound.

It could be the sparkly red Dorothy pumps she is wearing, but it is more likely Gwyneth Glyn's way with words that has them in a trance.

Poet, writer, singer, peformer - Gwyneth is a natural in the classroom. But she says: "I swore I would never teach."

However, the primary school teacher's daughter from Eifionydd loves children and jumped at the chance to become children's poet laureate for Wales this year.

Demand for a visit by the new Bardd Plant has been so great that Gwyneth has had to double the number of schools she planned to visit. Last week she finished her tour of north-west Wales and will travel through the country over the next few months.

Educated at Ysgol Uwchradd Glan y Mor, Coleg Meirion Dwyfor and Jesus College Oxford, her degree was in philosophy and theology, "subjects which are full of argument, interesting ideas and wonderful people", she says.

The daughter of actor Grey Evans, she grew up in a household where the spoken word and sound were all around her.

"When I was growing up, my two older sisters had gone to college and, being on my own in a rural area, I was always away with the fairies," she says.

Gwyneth won the crown at Eisteddfod yr Urdd Llyn ac Eifionydd in 1998 at just 18, then wrote scripts for the children's television series Rownd a Rownd and has published a number of books for children and young people.

She also writes for the theatre.

A talented musician who thrills her classes with rap music, she is working on a second CD.

"Children make good poets because they're uninhibited. They come up with magical ideas."

Clearly she impressed the children at the tiny two-classroom primary at Ysgol Llangelynnin, Henryd near Conwy.

"I've never seen the children like this before," says headteacher Mrs Ifora Owen. "That's some achievement after an hour for a class full of our youngest ones.

"The staff here will be able to take away some of the things she's done and use them in their teaching. And maybe we'll all get a pair of those sparkly red shoes."

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