Gruffalo masters Shetland dialect

A Shetland dialect version of the much lover children’s book The Gruffalo is being published next month.

Laureen Johnson, who has translated works into Shetland dialect previously, has now added The Shetland Gruffalo to her list of titles.

Laureen Johnson
Laureen Johnson

It is one of four regional translations of the bestselling children’s book – Doric, Dundonian, Shetland Scots and Orcadian Scots – all of which give the much-loved story a more local, familiar feel whilst maintaining the original story and illustrations.

According to publishers Itchy Coo and Black & White Publishing the book is “a really unique take on a well-known children’s story so we’re expecting it to do well, and it’s as enjoyable for the adults who are reading it as it is for the children listening.

“When Itchy Coo’s Scots version of The Gruffalo was published in 2012 it immediately became a Scottish bestseller. Capturing all the warmth and adventure of the original tale, this exciting Shetland Scots version adds a local familiarity that both bairns and grown-ups can enjoy. Using rhymes and cleverly laid visual clues, this is just as much a spine-tingling, mock-scary tale as the original.”

A taster of Laureen’s work goes:

“Ida hert o a forest deep an dark, a peerie broon moose guid oot for a waak.

Noo, Tod da fox tinks, “Dat’s juist whit A’m wantin!

A’ll glaep up dat moose, for A’m juist black fantin.”

Come a peerie bit farder intae da deep, dark forest, an fin oot whit happens when da fly peerie moose comes face ta face wi Kattyugl da owl, a sliddery snake an a hungry gruffalo….

Voe born Laureen is an author of plays, poetry, short stories and non-fiction. She is co-editor of Scotland’s oldest literary magazine, The New Shetlander, and also coedited Bright Pebbles, an anthology of prose and poetry, in 2010. She sits on the committee for Shetland ForWirds, and in 2013 she translated Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland into Shetland dialect.

The Shetland Gruffalo will be published by Itchy Coo and Black & White Publishing on Wednesday 21st October 2015 in paperback.


Add Your Comment
  • Brian Smith

    • September 25th, 2015 13:34

    Laureen is a brilliant translator.

  • Ron Young

    • September 25th, 2015 17:43

    Good to hear of local dialect and language being taught and preserved – and that from a “Sooth moother” (is that the correct term for a southerner?) who lives not a mile from a bit of woodland made famous by Robin Hood.


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