The Glass Tear by Anna Howard
  

Synopsis

The Glass Tear by Anna Howard

Stunning illustrations by Fran Evans bring to life this delightful and enchanting story about a little girl who loves stories and roaming the seashore.

Reviews

How many red dragons are there still in Wales? Apparently only one, and it lives in a cave on the Pembrokeshire coast, or so we are led to believe! Once again an encounter with a dragon is the central theme of a newly-published book by Pont. Told as a tale within the tale this version is narrated both by a modern-day child in person (clearing out the contents of her deceased great aunt Bronwyns cottage at Nolton Haven, and by Bron herself. She had written in spidery writing on several sheets of thin paper, tied with silver parcel string the story of her own childhood meeting with the lonely dragon, way back in 1928. The glass tear of the title is in fact the single tear shed by the dragon as he sends Bron back from his beach-side cave to the real world of an unbelieving family (after all, parents have no imagination, have they?), who all fail to realise the significance of her treasure. All, that is, except her grandfather, Tad-cu, who confides that he too has a glass tear, given to him as a child by the same dragon. There are difficulties in multi-layered, multi-generational storytelling, and this motif might well confuse a young reader who is tackling the book alone. I am reminded of a previous favourite Pont, Granny Sarah and the Last Red Kite by Malachy Doyle, which adopted a similar strategy more convincingly I feel, although some children with whom I shared that book were also confused about whos who. Similarly there is quite a lot of challenging vocabulary within the well-constructed text. There are some delightfully whimsical evocations of the Welsh seascape throughout the story, and the opening prologue, with its descriptions of the contents of the ebony tea caddy and its secrets promises an enjoyable read. Fulfilling the need and desire to expand and enrich a childs vocabulary, however, means the author must bear in mind its practical limitations. There are some stumbling blocks for the silent reader here. Adjectives like 'meandering', 'diminishing', 'overwhelming

'iridescent', are sophisticated words, complex in meaning. This leads me to ask the question What is the target readership? Even I had to use a dictionary to find the meaning of the noun 'berm'. These minor literary criticisms are balanced by the pleasure gained from the nature of the book itself. Its shape and size, the quality of the paper, and of course Fran Evans pictorial interpretation of the text lend a distinctive tone to the complete reading experience, ideally to be shared by adult and child. I was particularly charmed by the unexpected pleasure of the central page double spread of the splendid lizard-like dragon meeting young Bron, a charm repeated once again, towards the end, as she says farewell to her new-found friend, again across two pages. The trouble with these imaginative encounters with dragons is are they real? Brons parents tried to convince her that she had fallen asleep on the beach, had an adventure, woken up and found it was all a dream. The glass tear was only a shard of sea-glass. Or was it? Who can tell? Chris Stephens It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council. Gellir defnyddior adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru. -- Welsh Books Council'

About the Author

Ever since she was a very little girl, Anna Howard has spent her summer holidays in Pembrokeshire. Together with her brother and sister, she is the proud owner of a heavenly, three acre meadow on the cliff top above Druidston Haven, where she and her family love to camp. When she is not in Wales, Anna is an English and French teacher and really enjoys her job. She lives in rural Northamptonshire with her husband, four children, a hairy pony, an extremely naughty terrier, several chickens and two hives - full of bees. Anna has always loved writing stories and the story of 'The Glass Tear' was first written as a Christmas present for her children and all her nieces and nephews. It is set on the very beach that she and her family love so much. Fran Evans lives in Llangwm in South Pembrokeshire and is a well known artist in the county and beyond, working for clients such as Two Bad Mice Cards as well as illustrating books by Cerys Mathews and Malachy Doyle. An experienced illustrator of books, cards and prints, Fran draws instinctively on her observation of the natural world, and her love of interesting and quirky things, to create her delicate images. As someone who enjoys exploring the beaches around her home with the family, she often draws on her own environment for inspiration.

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Book Info

Format

Paperback
64 pages

Author

Anna Howard
More books by Anna Howard

Publisher


www.wbc.org.uk/

Publication date

29th July 2015

ISBN

9781848519725


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