We’ve just spent a week in the North-East of Scotland and although we spent most of our time tramping beaches and boggy hillsides, we did pay a visit to the bookshop in Dornoch, where Little Brother found Animal ABC: A Scots Alphabet by Susan Rennie and illustrated by Karen Anne Sutherland (Itchy Coo, 2002). We have all had great fun getting our tongues around the alliterative phrases like “crabbit crocodile wi clarty claes” – well, you’d be grumpy too if someone was throwing tomatoes at you and getting your clothes all dirty! – and we’ve learnt lots of Scots in the process. Little brother’s favorite is the “octopus in ooter-space”, planting the Scottish flag on the moon.
Little Brother was in fact intrigued that these are all real words, having stood corrected from his premise that “These are all nonsense words” like an Edward Lear alphabet – no, indeed! The situations the animals are put into may be humorous and “nonsense” but the language is genuine enough. In fact, the Itchy Coo imprint was created in 2002 to:
produce a burst of creativity in writing in Scots for children and young people, while also meeting the need for high quality teaching material in the language.
What a wonderful way to introduce Scots to young children – or indeed people of all ages!
We love exploring the world via alphabet books. I have brought many together in my Personal View for this Literacy issue of PaperTigers – this is one to add to the list; and if you can recommend others, do let us know here…
Another book I picked up was The Desperate Journey by Kathleen Fidler (Floris Books, 2002), which we have added to our pile of books for bedtime. This week, we drove along Strathnaver, which was one of the many areas subject to the Highland Clearances, so I think my two boys will get a lot out of the story. To quote from the back cover:
“Twins Kirsty and Davie Murray are forced to leave their home and travel across Scotland to Glasgow… Then the family are offered the chance to join an emigrant ship bound for Hudson Bay in Canada, and begin a perilous journey towards a new life in the Red River Colony.”
I’ll let you know more when we’ve read it…