Yokki and the Parno Gry by Richard O'Neill and Katharine Quarmby, illustrated by Marieke Nelissen


Yokki’s Traveller family love his stories of the Parno Gry, a magical horse who takes children to wonderful and faraway places.

Why tell stories?

In this book, people tell stories for lots of reasons. Yokki tells his family about the Parno Gry to comfort them when they are worried and scared. His family pass on the story of the Parno Gry through generations so that they will remember to value children’s imaginations.

Richard O’Neill, the book’s storyteller, has explained that he wants to share his community’s stories so that children from Roma, Gypsy and Traveller families will see their culture reflected positively.

What can you see in this extract from Yokki and the Parno Gry?

  • Yokki’s family are trying hard to earn money, but nobody is willing to pay them what their goods are worth. They are worried that the family will have nothing to live on. In the illustration by Marieke Nelissen, Yokki’s family members are shown in detail so that we understand them and are on their side. By contrast, the people who won’t buy from them are dark shadows at the front of the page.
  • Yokki’s grandfather thinks his stories about the Parno Gry are making the children hope for impossible things. But his grandmother knows that people need dreams to comfort them.
  • The Parno Gry appears and takes the whole family away. In the illustrations, the Parno Gry is covered in birds. Why do you think this is?
  • The family have a new home and plenty to eat. Yokki thanks the Parno Gry, not just for bringing them here, but for inspiring them.
  • The last words of the book explain the importance of the story – it’s a reminder to people to value children’s imaginations.

Passing on a tradition

An oral tradition is one where a community’s knowledge and culture are preserved by word of mouth, through stories, poems and songs.

The storyteller Richard O’Neill is from a Romani Traveller family, and grew up travelling across Scotland and the North of England. His stories are part of a long community tradition, and have been passed down through generations of his family. This story often uses Romani words and phrases like ‘Phuri Dai’ (Grandmother), ‘folki’ (people) and ‘Tel te jib’ (be quiet, or hold your tongue).

Full title:
Yokki and the Parno Gry
2016, Swindon, Wiltshire
Child's Play
Printed book / Picture book / Illustration / Image
Richard O'Neill, Katharine Quarmby, Marieke Nelissen
Usage terms

Yokki and the Parno Gry. Reproduced by kind permission of Child's Play (International) Ltd.
Text copyright © 2016 Richard O’Neill and Katharine Quarmby.
Illustrations copyright © 2016 Child's Play (International) Ltd. First published 2016 by Child's Play.
All rights reserved. You may not use the material for commercial purposes. Please credit the copyright holder when reusing this work.

Held by
British Library

Full catalogue details

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