Tales From the Deep by Cerys Mathews. Book review

Tales From the Deep by Cerys Mathews. Illustrated by Fran Evans. Pont Books ‘5.99

Reviewed by Jan Edwards

You might wonder why a pre-school picture book deserves a review from the BFS. But, then again, why not? After all, this is a book aimed at the demographic where a love of books and of fantasy will often begin, guided by the parents and grandparents who choose their books.

Tales From the Deep relates two traditional Welsh folks tales by Cerys Mathews, Welsh rock-diva, and illustrated by fellow countryman Fran Evans. And published by a Welsh Publisher. It is told in a totally uncompromising fashion, without smoothed edges or safely happy endings, yet lyrically, poetically ‘ as you would expect from a gifted lyricist.

Open one cover and you have ‘Ghost Bells of the Lowlands’ where a village watchmen falls asleep on the job and the entire place drowns. Flip the book over and start from the other end and you get ‘Mfddfai Magic’, where a mermaid marries a fisherman only when he agrees never to strike her. When he does ‘ inadvertently ‘ causing her bruises, she returns to the water and the fisherman’s heart is forever broken.

These are traditional folk tales as they would have been related around firesides down the centuries by bards and poets Tales From the Deep is the kind of book that can impart a life-long love of real fantasy, horror and literature that challenges the senses. 

My daughter would have loved this at age four or five, but then her favourite book was The Tailypo by Joanna Galdone, which scared the pants off her brother; she was made of quite stern stuff. 

Tales From the Deep by Cerys Mathews. Illustrated by Fran Evans. Pont Books ‘5.99

Reviewed by Jan Edwards

You might wonder why a pre-school picture book deserves a review from the BFS. But, then again, why not? After all, this is a book aimed at the demographic where a love of books and of fantasy will often begin, guided by the parents and grandparents who choose their books.

Tales From the Deep relates two traditional Welsh folks tales by Cerys Mathews, Welsh rock-diva, and illustrated by fellow countryman Fran Evans. And published by a Welsh Publisher. It is told in a totally uncompromising fashion, without smoothed edges or safely happy endings, yet lyrically, poetically ‘ as you would expect from a gifted lyricist.

Open one cover and you have ‘Ghost Bells of the Lowlands’ where a village watchmen falls asleep on the job and the entire place drowns. Flip the book over and start from the other end and you get ‘Mfddfai Magic’, where a mermaid marries a fisherman only when he agrees never to strike her. When he does ‘ inadvertently ‘ causing her bruises, she returns to the water and the fisherman’s heart is forever broken.

These are traditional folk tales as they would have been related around firesides down the centuries by bards and poets Tales From the Deep is the kind of book that can impart a life-long love of real fantasy, horror and literature that challenges the senses. 

My daughter would have loved this at age four or five, but then her favourite book was The Tailypo by Joanna Galdone, which scared the pants off her brother; she was made of quite stern stuff.