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Book Review: Il-Barumbati ta' Betta Trombetta

Paul Grech Wednesday, May 21, 2014 ,
There is always a little bit of trepidation when you’re revisiting something that used to delight you when you were younger.  Whilst nostalgia might trick you into believing that every book you read (or film you saw) as a child was great, in far too many cases the truth is much more disappointing.  Often when you get back to them after a gap of a couple of decades you fail to understand what made them so special.

So it was with a fair bit of trepidation that I opened a copy of the recently republished edition of Il-Barumbati ta’ Betta Trumbetta.  I wanted to revisit the stories that accompanied me during my childhood but, at the same time, I didn’t want to sully the memory.

Fortunately, I shouldn’t have worried.  There is an ageless quality to these stories whilst the (innocent) humour transcends generations.   That said, most children reading this will need the help of an adult to understand what a cassette player – which features prominently in one story – actually is.

For the uninitiated, Betta Trumbetta is a spirited, mischievous but ultimately kind-hearted girl who gets into all sort of trouble.  She’s the act before thinking type and seems to get into all sorts of trouble as a result.  When she does get to do some thinking, Betta is actually quite clever often finding ingenious ways to try to get out of trouble or else come on top when someone else is needling her.

Little wonder that children love her

Whilst it is great that this book has been republished, introducing Betta Trumbetta to a whole new generation of fans, it does make me wonder whether books of this sort are still being written (judging by what I’ve seen, no).  Is it because children no longer enjoy reading those kinds of story (again, my feeling is no) or because there aren’t the authors who are comfortable writing such stories?

Either way, it would be a pity to lose this form of storytelling because when I was growing up these stories fired up by imagination and were a portal to a familiar yet all too different way of life.  Here’s hoping that the re-issuing of this book will inspire not only a whole new generation of young readers but also an army of new writers.

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Full disclosure: review copy of this book was supplied by Merlin Publishers.


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