Treasury of Welsh Heroes, A by Brett Breckon

Treasury of Welsh Heroes, A

Written by Brett Breckon
Illustrated by Brett Breckon


Treasury of Welsh Heroes, A by Brett Breckon

A collection of tales about some of Wales's greatest heroes, including St David, Owain Glyndwr, Black Bart etc. A beautiful gift book.


Do children and young people have coffee-table books? Do adults and parents purloin glossy childrens books to enjoy themselves? Whatever the answer, A Treasury of Welsh Heroes appears at first glance to be that kind of desirable, must-buy publication. Its an attractive shape, with a dramatic, richly coloured front cover showing, on a classic white steed, a fearsome Welsh warrior (who turns out to be none other than Llywelyn the Last, one of the ten featured heroes and heroines of the books title). The theme of speed and movement continues on the back cover, with a subtler, yet perhaps more interesting blurred image of a young runner pursued by a mle of wild creatures the hare, the hound, the hawk and the horse, so reminiscent of ancient tales of Welsh culture. The figure is in fact the much less well-known, but equally engaging hero of 18th century Porth, Guto Nyth Brn.

I cant help thinking that something of the spirit of the original has been lost in translation. The narrative poem detailing Princess Nests amours is at times clumsy in both its rhythms and its rhymes. Occasionally odd and inappropriate choices of dumb-down vocabulary stick out like sore thumbs ('Only bad kings do things like that') and young readers might find difficulty in puzzling out who exactly is telling the story and what is his or her relationship with the hero. Its a great idea to vary the narrative voice (we have 1st and 3rd person accounts, and lots of examples of the writer addressing the reader directly) but the position of the story-teller in relation to his audience is sometimes rather contrived. Young readers might be confused too by this direct address, and by travel directions to the locations of battles and burial places, and might consequently find it difficult to relate to the hero himself. Often the individual texts leave more questions than answers. Is this fact or fiction? Will Owain Glyndwr return to free the Welsh nation? Where did Dafydd ap Gwilym decide to be buried? Should we be fearful of the return of Twm Sin Cati on a 21st-century stormy night? Should we indeed expect a narrative verdict in every case?

Im sure that any young person, whether fond of history or not, of upper primary and lower secondary age, would be delighted to receive this book as a gift, and an equal number of parents and teachers will be grateful for the knowledge it contains about a half-remembered host of Welsh heroes, characters whom they can share with a new generation of readers and listeners.

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

About the Author

If you want to find Brett Breckon from Roch near Haverfordwest, you could try looking for him in one of three places - on the beach with his surfboard, paddling his kayak or in his studio quietly painting. He says that at a very young age, I loved to make pictures. They were often inspired by my dreams, wishes or fantasies. Ever since then, I've never really stopped drawing, painting and making things. Art has always been a passion.

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Book Info


112 pages


Brett Breckon
More books by Brett Breckon


Pont Books an imprint of Gomer Press

Publication date

3rd April 2012



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