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Rebecca's Daughter (Stories of Welsh Life)

Manylion a Disgrifiad y Llyfr | Book Details & Description

  • Author: Siân Lewis
  • Publication Date 2006
  • Illustrated by Graham Howells 
  • Suitable for age 9-11 or Key Stage 2 
  • Format: Hardback, 207x140 mm, 29 pages
 
A story and picture book aimed at children aged 9-11 years old. The series deals with many periods in Welsh history, and bases a story on a particular field. This volume gives the story of the Beca riots.

Gwales Review

With the Stories of Welsh Life Series, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch has taken a fresh approach to Welsh history tales for children aged between 8 and 12. Having self-explanatory titles and being written from the point of view of the young main character, the reader is immediately engaged in key events and their effect on ordinary people of the time. Narratives by accomplished author Siân Lewis are presented in neat, well-bound books with text alternating with colour plates which set the context and provide a wealth of visual detail to explore. Teachers will welcome an addition to Curriculum Cymreig resources; youngsters in Wales will welcome attractive and readable books which enable them to travel through time and appreciate what it was like to witness and be part of historical happenings whilst youngsters everywhere will empathize with the hero or heroine and enjoy the excitement and tension.

It is 1839 and we find thirteen-year-old Lizzie’s Mam at the end of her tether with worry as she contemplates being dragged to the workhouse along with her five girls and three boys, just like Annie Blaenpant and her seven children only a year previously. Does she have reason to fret? Lizzie doesn’t believe so.

Yes,‘Dad wanted to join the Daughters of Rebecca again’, but he had already shown that he was more than capable of both damaging the unjust tollgates with his comrades and avoiding capture by constables and soldiers. Why shouldn’t he don his wife’s clothes one more time, blacken his face with soot and loyally join the Host of Rebecca in trying to remove the barriers set up by those greedy individuals who had rented lengths of road from the Turnpike Companies in order to fleece honest farmers and traders? He wouldn’t be caught even if others had been. He would carry on working his land along with his family.

Worried Mam has plans for making sure Dad stays free: she intends to keep her husband at home out of trouble even if the neighbours think he’s a coward. However, daughter Lizzie’s stubbornness and an in-bred determination to take direct action for the sake of her father’s reputation and for justice result in lively escapades.

By taking a mischievous stance, and through clever plotting and use of dialogue, the writer carries the story along at a rapid pace which young readers will relish, at the same time ensuring that historical facts are presented clearly along with the biting economic effects of the imposing of tolls on the ordinary population. A comic tone disguises the gravity of characters’ actions without undermining the significance of the historical events and a credible picture of a hard-working rural life is provided.

Those familiar with Graham Howells’s work will not be disappointed by his characteristic use of perspective and colour in pictures of day-to-day country living and in expressive portraits of individual characters and groups, even when presenting back views. He has obviously enjoyed bringing to life Lizzie’s uncomfortable labour as she unloads the lime on the thistle field and depicting the cross-dressed Daughters of Rebecca. It is well worth having a look at this book to see how he tackled the task of illustration.