Our family had the opportunity to spend a week in Scotland this fall, and it was such fun to find picture books to prepare my son for the trip. Here are a few of our favorites:
An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales – by Theresa Breslin and Kate Leiper
This beautifully illustrated collection features stories from all different regions of Scotland. It provides brief introductions to each story, explaining the era of each story and whether it comes from the Borderlands, the Highlands, etc. The writing style is both elegant and accessible, and I found that it worked quite well as a read aloud.
Wee Gillis – by Munro Leaf
This charming story follows a young orphan boy who spends half of the year with his mother’s family in the lowlands and half of the year with his father’s relatives in the highlands. It’s a story of the discovery and appreciation two different cultures, and of finding one’s own place in the mix. Robert Lawson’s wonderful illustrations add a great deal to the story as well.
Katie Morag: Island Stories – by Mairi Hedderwick
This collection includes four different tales about a young girl living on a Scottish island. My favorite is Katie and the Two Grandmothers — a charming story in which Katie’s mainland city-dwelling grandmother comes to visit the island and stands in sharp contrast to Katie’s overall-wearing, sheep-raising island grandmother. The illustrations are lovely, and the stories do a lovely job of presenting different aspects of Scottish life without being at all pedantic.
Katie in Scotland – by James Mayhew
My son and I had already enjoyed meeting Katie in Katie in London and Katie’s London Christmas, so I was pleased to see a book in the same series in which Katie visits Scotland. This is a story from the tourist’s perspective, so it highlights many castles and tourist attractions in Scotland. An interesting addition, but definitely one to read in conjunction with stories that give the local perspective as well.