A Great Scottish Export? The Gruffalo.

Image: Itchy Coo

I knew The Gruffalo was popular. I knew it had been translated into 43 languages. I did not know that it had been translated into Scots. In light of the election last week, it seemed somewhat timely to make this discovery now. The linguistic variations are fascinating, and if it’s something you are interested in exposing your children to, then this is the book(s) for you.

Whereas the mouse in The Gruffalo takes a walk in the deep, dark woods, the mouse in The Gruffalo in Scots takes a “donner through the deep, mirk widd.” In The Gruffalo, the mouse is “going to have tea with a Gruffalo,” where in The Gruffalo in Scots, he is “gonnae hae ma denner wi a gruffalo.”

“A moose took a dauner through the deep, mirk widd. A tod saw the moose and the moose looked guid.”
“Whaur are ye aff tae, wee broon moose? Will ye no hae yer denner in ma deep-doon hoose?”
“That’s awfie kind o ye, Tod, but I’ll no—I’m gonnae hae ma denner wi a gruffalo.”

The fun continues with The Gruffalo’s Wean (The Gruffalo’s Child)!

“The Gruffalo said it wid come tae nae guid If a gruffalo roamed in the deep mirk widd.”
“How no, how no?” “Because, hae nae doot, The Muckle Mad Moose will find ye oot.”

Translated by James Robertson, endorsed by the author, and published by Itchy Coo, it is an absolute delight for Scots and Sassenachs alike. Itchy Coo was founded in 2002 by Robertson and Matthew Fitt. Their aim is to “encourage better understanding and greater acceptance of the Scots Language in education and in all aspects of Scottish life.” They publish best-selling books in Scots for children and young people. Itchy Coo is also an education project, which works with students and teachers to develop their Scots reading and writing skills. Itchy Coo has made almost 1,000 visits to schools and libraries throughout Scotland.

If you can’t quite imagine the brogue, then a lovely Scottish father has created a YouTube video of it for his children: