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Mrs. McCool and the Giant Cuhullin: An Irish Tale Hardcover – March 1, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this perky tale inspired by characters from Irish folklore, a clever woman uses a bit o' the blarney to prove that brains trump brawn . Cuhullin, a legendary giant, believes he's strongest in the world. Only one definitive test stands in his way: to defeat fellow giant Finn McCool. When Finn learns that Cuhullin is due to come after him, he turns to his wife, Oona, for advice. Well-practiced at getting Finn out of difficult scrapes, Oona quickly devises a plan to outwit Cuhullin. A fast-paced story results, filled with slapstick humor. Young readers will be giggling at both giants deriving power from a magic finger (Finn sees into the future when he sucks his thumb) and the sight of Finn mustache and all pretending to be a baby. Souhami's (No Dinner!: The Story of the Old Woman and the Pumpkin) artwork, a mix of cut- and torn-paper collage with pastel accents, lends an appropriately jaunty air to the proceedings. Her wide variety of perspectives and funny visual details play up the giants' stature and add depth to the retelling. A note on the story's origin is included. Ages 4-8.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

reSchool-Grade 2--Rejoice! Here's a new feminist fairy tale for your collection. As soon as Oona McCool hears that Cuhullin wants to flatten her man to prove that he's the strongest giant in the world, she swings into action. After hiding her husband in a cradle, she invites the bully in for tea and proceeds to test him with Finn's "chores," such as lifting the house so that she can sweep under it. All the while, Finn McCool trembles in the cradle. Finally, Cuhullin practically breaks his teeth on bread (with a griddle baked inside), and when the "baby" gobbles down an identical loaf (sans griddle), Cuhullin decides to leave. First though, Oona asks him to look at the baby's new teeth, whereupon-"SNAP!"-the giant loses his magic finger, the source of all his strength. Souhami's rollicking retelling will quickly become a storytime favorite. The foibles of the two giants will tickle small funny bones, and the fact that Finn sucks his thumb to see the future will have them rolling from their seats. They may even pick up on the refrain, "What a storyteller that Oona was!" Indeed, she is the star of the show, with a worthy lesson to teach: "Big is big. But brains are better!" Paper collage illustrations in eye-popping colors play up the silliness. Tomie dePaola's Fin M'Coul, the Giant of Knockmany Hill (Holiday, 1981) is Irish through and through. On the other hand, Souhami's retelling features almost tropical illustrations and a punchy text that will exercise some ham bones and have children asking for repeat performances.
Jeanne Clancy Watkins, Chester County Library, Exton, PA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Series: Books for Young Readers
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1st edition (March 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080506852X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805068528
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.4 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #633,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Djoy on March 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book for children preschool thru elementary age. I use it as a read aloud with preschoolers when talking about Ireland & St. Patrick's Day. It's not the usual leprechaun story you might expect, but an Irish fairy tale complete with giants & their superpowers & some unexpected twists. The illustrations are clear graphics that bring the story to life & the text is crisp & to the point without rambling on like some Irish fairy tales I have used in the past. The book was delivered quickly in a secure package & was in very good condition.
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