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Tales from the Deep by Cerys Matthews

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Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts at the Hay Festival on 28 May 2011.

Two Welsh legends are brought to life for a new audience in this debut publication from singer Cerys Matthews.


Tales from the Deep by Cerys Matthews

In this debut children’s book from singer/songwriter and DJ Cerys Matthews, two ancient Welsh legends are reinterpreted and brought to life for a new generation. In Tales from the Deep, the legends of Cantre’r Gwaelod and The Maid of Llyn y Fan are lyrically retold by Matthews and accompanied by stunning images from illustrator Fran Evans.

The first story, The Ghost Bells of the Lowlands, adapted from the legend of Cantre’r Gwaelod, tells the story of a village gatekeeper who fails to carry out his protective duties one evening, placing the villagers at the mercy of the sea. In the second tale, Myddfai Magic, adapted from The Maid of Lyn y Fan, narrates the story of Gwyn, a farmer, who sees a beautiful girl emerge from the lake as he tends to his animals one day. The third time that he sees her, he asks her to marry him, but little does he know that this will change his life forever.

Cerys Matthews is well known for her talent with words and, as a mother of three, is well placed to rework these Welsh legends for an audience of contemporary children. With a different beautiful design on both the front and back cover, Tales from the Deep is exceptionally attractive, both inside and out, capturing these enchanting Welsh legends for a new generation of readers.


This lovely picture book contains the retelling of two famous Welsh legends. The first is 'The Lady of Llyn y Fan (the Doctors of Myddfai)', in which Gwyn, a young farmer, falls in love with a beautiful water-nymph. They marry and have three fine sons who are destined to be famous physicians, but there are conditions to enduring happiness for the family ...

The other is 'Cantrer Gwaelod
in which a watchman is given the task of keeping a look out for any winter storms brewing as he surveys a shoreline kingdom from a tall bell tower. Unfortunately, for one vital moment he neglects his duty, and the warning bell is not sounded.

Famous singer and composer Cerys Matthews has written her first childrens book, and it is no surprise that the words have a lyrical flow which really need to be read aloud to fully appreciate the cadences of the language.

Fran Evanss watercolour illustrations are rich representations of the magical landscapes inhabited by the expressive characters in both stories. The innovative presentation of a turn

-over book adds to the tactile attraction for yet another generation of listeners and readers.

Hilary Cooper

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from, 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, trwy ganiatd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru. -- Welsh Books Council

About the Author

Cerys Matthews is well known worldwide as a successful singer / songwriter. Formerly the front woman of cult band Catatonia, she was a rock icon in the 1990's. In recent years she has returned to her folk roots and since released five successful solo albums. She currently presents a Sunday show for BBC 6 Music, and will be touring to promote her new album in May 2011. She is well known for her talent with words, and as a mother of three, ideally placed to rework these Welsh legends for a young, contemporary audience.

Fran Evans lives in Pembrokeshire, and is a successful, highly popular illustrator and author. She draws inspiration from nature and the world around her. She is known for her soft, subtle and often amusing watercolours, that are alive with detail and explore the magic of the natural world.

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Book Info

Publication date

4th May 2011


Cerys Matthews

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Gomer Press


32 pages


Traditional stories (Children's / Teenage)



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