Characters with series attraction

19th May 2006 at 01:00

DARLLEN MEWN DIM Y LOLFA. Parc Prysur Dref Wen, pound;4.99


LLYFR LLUN A GAIR SALI MALI CYMDEITHAS Lyfrau Ceredigion, pound;5.50

BLE MAE PAWB? Gomer, pound;4.99

ALUN YR ARTH Y MOR-LEIDR Y Lolfa, pound;2.95


FFION A'R TIM RYGBI Gomer, pound;3.99

RHY IFANC I RYFEL Gomer, pound;4.99

SGWBIDW AUR Y Lolfa, pound;2.95

ISIO BET? Y Lolfa, pound;2.95

The world's laziest cow, a girl who plays rugby, and gang violence are among the themes in a fine crop of home-grown books which should engage children of all ages, says Nia Gruffydd

There is much home-grown talent to celebrate this year, thanks partly to three series aimed at "plugging gaps" in reading material at key stage 1, 2 and 3. Many of these titles will be appreciated outside the classroom. One of these is Cyfres Darllen mewn Dim (Reading in No Time) by Angharad Tomos - a graded reading scheme based on the character Rala Rwdins. Short sentences using much repetition accompany the vibrant illustrations.

Young children will delight in Parc Prysur (Busy Park) by Rebecca Finn, and Amser Chwarae Grwndi'r Gath (Playtime, Poppy Cat!) by Lara Jones. Both have retained the original English texts, making them perfect for homes where parents are non-Welsh speakers.

Llyfr Llun a Gair Sali Mali (Sali Mali's Picture Word Book) by Dylan Williams will be a welcome addition to a very young child's bookshelf. This sturdy board book with cartoon illustrations offers an ideal way to introduce new words.

Ble Mae Pawb? (Where is Everyone?) by Rhiannon Rowlands is one of the latest titles for pre-school children. Simple sentences and detailed artwork makes it a lovely book for beginner readers or to share.

For under-sevens, Alun yr Arth y Mor-Leidr (Alun Bear the Pirate) by Morgan Tomos has great boy appeal. Alun is dragged to a bookshop. There he gets into trouble as his imagination turns him into a fearless pirate.

Bili Boncyrs - Seren y Rodeo (Billy Bonkers Rodeo Star) by Caryl Lewis is a fun tale about playing cowboys and Indians, and everyone's attempts to get Mwwlsen, the laziest and fattest cow in the world to move.

Last year saw the publication of 20 titles in the Ar Wib series aimed at the seven to nine age group. One of the best is Ffion a'r Tim Rygbi (Ffion and the Rugby Team) by Elin Meek. Ffion has been persuaded to play for the boys' rugby team and tries to improve her game with the help of her grandfather.

Older children interested in history will enjoy Rhy Ifanc i Ryfel (Too Young for War) by Mair Wynn Hughes, an account of life on Anglesey during the First World War through the eyes of two young friends.

The Pen Dafad (Sheep Head) series is aimed at leisure reading needs for pupils at KS3. The latest offerings are Sgwbidw Aur (Gold Scoubidou) by Caryl Lewis, a snapshot of the life of Colin who has a rally-obsessed father and a mother who is a bit too close to his father's best friend.

Isio Bet? (Want a Bet?) by Bedwyr Rees is an account of life in a small north Wales town, and the way young people slip into gang behaviour. Funny in parts, the novel portrays the disturbing brutality which becomes a casual part of life. A thoughtful book with more depth than at first glance.

Nia Gruffydd is user services manager at Gwynedd Library Service

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