From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6. A lively folktale containing all of the elements that please children. Originally published in Brendan Behan's Island-An Irish Sketchbook (Random, 1962; o.p.), the text was transcribed from a tape recording of Behan telling the story, adding to the immediacy of the narrative. The King of Ireland wishes to know the source of the heavenly music that can be heard all around the country, so he sends his three sons off on the quest. When the brothers notice the music coming from a hole in the ground, Neart and Ceart lower Art down, hoping to get rid of him. Art travels through a tunnel and meets three old men, each the father of the one before, and finally comes upon a talking horse who leads him to a palace garden, where he discovers a captive princess playing a harp. Art must trick her captor, a giant, and keep himself from being devoured in the process. With the help of the magical stallion and his own quick wits and good humor, he rescues the princess and returns triumphantly to his father's castle, where he inherits half of the kingdom, marries the princess, "and wasn't I at the wedding as well as everybody else...." The exuberance of Lynch's vigorous watercolors, from lush gardens to humorous facial expressions, perfectly matches the rollicking rhythm of the text to create a wholly satisfying read-aloud. A perfect choice for St. Patrick's Day or any folklore unit.?Connie C. Rockman, formerly at Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 3^-5, younger for reading aloud. In this folktale from Brendan Behan's Island--An Irish Sketchbook
, the king's three sons set off to find the source of the "heavenly music" heard throughout the country. Steered by three generations of old men through a long tunnel, advised to mount a stallion at the other end, and warned about a ferocious giant, youngest son Art discovers the beautiful harpist-singer. To break the spell that imprisons her, Art must defeat a giant in a deadly hide-and-seek game. Behan's rich retelling, also found in Jane Yolen's Favorite Folktales from around the World
(1986), begs to be read aloud. Greenaway medalist Lynch's handsome paintings are reminiscent of such early illustrators as Rackham. Full of drama, emotion and magic, they make this story more accessible to children. Linda Perkins