Floris Books, Edinburgh based, are trying commendably hard to publish Scottish themed books for children. This works very well for story books and now they have introduced Wee Kelpies, a range ofÂ Scottish board books for children aged 1 to 3 years old.
Illustrated by the talented Kate McLelland, the first two are ‘Scottish Colours’ and ‘Scottish Things That Go’. Â So, green is a sea monster (Nessie?), yellow is a pair of wellingtons, red is raspberries, blue is the Saltire, purple is a thistle and orange is a highland cow. As you can imagine, this comes over as slightly contrived and some people will appreciate the effort, while some will consider it patronising and uneccessary.
The second book, on transport, suffers from the same problem; the boat is a fishing boat, pictured just off a pier with a saltire flying, the tram is driving past Edinburgh Castle, the car is on a road in the highlands with sheep in fields, a warning sign for deer and a large bird overhead, the steam train is passing a highland cow but the helicopter and tractor, I fear, could be anywhere.
As you may tell, I became sidetracked by looking for Scottishness, instead of just enjoying the books for what they are, books with nice, clear, simple, colourful images, on chunky pages that can be manipulated by small fingers and will stand up to a fair amount of chewing etc. Â£5.99 may seem a lot but these are real books that have to pay their way in the material world. What do you think?