ORIGINAL author Jeff Kinney is a fan of Thomas Clark’s Scots translations of his bestselling Diary Of A Wimpy Kid series.

Now, as the next instalment is unleashed, Clark hopes it’ll be just as big a hit with the nation’s families.

Translator Clark, a school librarian and columnist, told the Sunday National: “Jeff Kinney is really supportive of the books. When we launched the first, he really loved it and really got into the vocabulary. It’s a vivacious, interesting, fun Scots that matches up to the interesting, fun English of the original.”

Kinney’s Diary Of A Wimpy Kid series is a major hit, having sold more than 250 million copies across 78 editions and 65 languages – including Scots – and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for in excess of 700 weeks.

The stories focus around Greg Heffley and his family, for whom things often don’t go according to plan. The series began its life online in 2004 before transferring to the printed page three years later. There are now 15 separate novels, plus a host of spin-offs.

Specialist imprint Itchy Coo, which produces Scots-language books for kids, published the first version in that language two years ago under the title Diary O A Wimpy Wean and has now announced the release of two more instalments – Rodrick The Radge and Up Tae The Oxters, known in their original English as Rodrick Rules and The Deep End.

Clark, who worked on all three, believes the latest two will chime with families who have been stuck together during the pandemic, regardless of how often they annoy each other. Rodrick the Radge, about sibling rivalry, is said to be “funny, clever and heartwarming, and it works so well in Scots”. Of Up Tae The Oxters, out on Tuesday, he says the idea of a staycation-gone-wrong will be “extremely relatable”.

Clark, from Hawick, said: “There are varieties of Scots that are very much driven from some ‘ideal Scots’ that doesn’t exist any more. That’s not what this is. Kids don’t need a dictionary to read them, they don’t need to ask their parents what it means or know more than they would in equivalent English books. We use Scots in context where it’s really clear.”

Kinney’s illustrations, Clark says, provide an ideal way to introduce lesser-known terms: “There’s one where Greg is thinking about Noah’s Ark and the hedgehog. Not many adults know the Scots for that, let alone kids, but seeing the word ‘hurcheon’ along with the illustration means it’s clear.”

While Clark would ordinarily be touring schools, book shops and festivals to launch the titles, all that activity is now online. It’s hard, he says, to get the message out during the pandemic, but pre-orders are good: “Diary O A Wimpy Wean did well in America and globally – there are a lot of people with Scottish roots. These ones look like they’re going to do even better.”