Lèirmheas / Review: An Raga

Lèirmheas / Review: An Raga

An Raga le Steaphanaidh Chaimbeul
Ri fhaotainn bho / Available from Comhairle nan Leabhraichean
£5.00

Daibhidh Eyre

Lèirmheas le Daibhidh Eyre / Review by David Eyre

Anns an leabhar-cloinne seo, tha sinn a’ coinneachadh ri Èairdsidh. Ceàrd a th’ ann, a bhios a’ dol timcheall na Gàidhealtachd le a bhaidhsagal agus a theanta bheag uaine.
Tha raga aig Èairdsidh. Chan e raga àbhaisteach a th’ ann, ach ‘raga ribeagach riochdail rìomhach’ a tha luachmhòr dha-rìribh, agus Èairdsidh ga chur gu feum nuair a bhios e a’ caradh nan toll ann aodach dhaoine.
Ach – ‘och nan och ‘s nan ochadh òbh’ – tha an raga aig Eàirdsidh air a dhol a dhìth – agus airson a lorg, tha aige a dhol bhon Fhraing gu New York – turas inntinneach ach tha cho dàiteach ‘s ioma-fhillte leis an raga fhèin.
In this children’s book, we meet Èairdsidh. He’s a tradesman, who goes around the Highlands with his bicycle and wee green tent.
Èairdsidh has a rag. It’s not your usual type of rag, but a ‘ragged, real, ravishing rag’ that is valuable indeed, and Èairdsidh makes use of it to repair the holes in people’s clothes.
But – ‘oh of ohs and eightimes oh’ – Èairdsidh’s rag has disappeared – and to find it, he must go from France to New York – a fascinating trip that is as colourful and complex as the rag itself.
Thuirt na britheaman aig farpais sgrìobhaidh Dhòmhnaill Meek 2015 gun robh An Raga ‘airidh air moladh’, agus bha iad glè cheart.
Tha Stephanaidh Chaimbeul a’ cleachdadh na Gàidhlig ann an dòigh nàdarra, siùbhlach, sporsail. Seo Èardsidh ‘s e a’ faicinn cidhe New York: “Chan e cidhe An Tairbeirt a bha seo. Bha e air chall. Mar Hearach ann a’ Hampden! Mar Uibhisteach an Ulapul! Mar Leòdhasach an Liverpool. Mar Sgitheanach ann an Scunthorpe!” Tha e snog dha-rìribh leabhar cloinne ann an Gàidhlig a leughadh, far a bheil e gu math follaiseach gu bheil an cànan aig a chridhe.
Tha deagh smachd aig Chaimbeul air sgeulachd, agus cuideachd deagh chluas airson ruitheam, agus an dòigh sa tha ath-aithris a’ cur gu mòr ri leabhraichean-cloinne – a thèid gu tric a’ leughadh gu h-àrd aig àm làighe.
The judges at the Donald Meek writing competition 2015 said An Raga was ‘highly commended’, and they were quite right.
Stephanaidh Chaimbeul uses Gaelic in a way that is natural, nimble and light-hearted. Here’s Èairdsidh when he sees a quay in New York: “This wasn’t Tarbert Quay. He was lost. Like a Hearach in Hampden! Like a Uibhisteach in Ullapool! Like a Leòdhasach in Liverpool. Like a Sgitheanach in Scunthorpe!” It is very pleasing to read a children’s book in Gaelic, where it is so evident that the language is at its heart.
Chaimbeul has a good control over narrative, and also a good ear for rhythm, and the way that repition adds so much to children’s books – that are so often read aloud at bedtime.
Tha na dealbhan aig Liondsaidh Chaimbeul gu math dàiteach, brèagha, agus a’ cur ris an fhaireachdainn de dhraoidheachd a bhios a’ ruith tron leabhar air fad. Chòrd an dealbh far a bheil Èairdsidh air a chall ann an Times Square rium gu h-àraid.
‘S e an aon chàineadh a th’ agam nach eil an teacs agus na dealbhan a’ ruith mar bu chòir, a’ fàgail beàrnan eadar faclan ann an seantasan, rud nach eil na chuideachadh dhan leughadair.
Ach – tha An Raga na leabhar thaitneach bu chòir a bhith air a leughadh dhan a h-uile pàiste aig a bheil Gàidhlig. Tha mi an dòchas gum bi sinn a’ cluinntinn a-rìthist bho Steaphanaidh Chaimbeul – agus bho Èairsidh – sna bliadhnaichean ri thighinn.
Liondsaidh Chaimbeul’s pictures are very colourful and beautiful, and add to the sense of magic that runs through the entire book. I particularly liked the illustration where Èairdsidh finds himself lost in Times Square.
The one criticism I have is that the text and pictures are not laid out as well as they should, leaving gaps between words in sentences that are not helpful to the reader.
But – An Raga is a delightful book that should be read to every child who has Gaelic. I hope that we will hear again from Stepahanaidh Chaimbeul – and from Èairdsidh – in the years to come.

 

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