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Irish Fairy Tales and Legends Hardcover – October, 1997
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From School Library Journal
Grade 3-5?Leavy has selected 10 stories from the rich and prolific melange of Irish folklore and rewritten them in a simple yet literary style that still reflects the Irish charm and mystique. These are stories of wonder, some dating back as far as 2000 years, with a host of majestic heroes, fairies, giants, and leprechauns living out comedic and tragic themes of honesty and deceit, good vs. evil, love and happiness, bravery and strength. In "The Children of Lir," the King's second marriage to wicked, jealous Aoife results in the transformation of his beloved children into swans. In "The Giant's Causeway," Fionn's wife Blaithin conquers and cleverly outsmarts the giant Fathach Mor in a man's world. A couple of stories fall a bit flat at the end. However, for the most part, the pathos and humor of each story is well expressed. Leavy has eliminated some of the violence found in the originals and kept to the basic premise and concept. Each selection is carefully documented. Most compare well with versions in Irish Fairy and Folk Tales, edited by William Butler Yeats, (Modern Library, 1994) and Sean O'Sullivan's The Folklore of Ireland (Hasting House, 1975; o.p.). A helpful pronunciation guide is provided for those difficult Irish names. Field's full-color paintings in varied sizes accentuate the basic scenes in each story. A good collection for folklore shelves.?Rita Soltan, Baldwin Public Library, Birmingham, MI
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 4^-8. Of these 10 legends culled from Irish folklore, some have their origins in a rich oral tradition dating back 2,000 years. Others are "merely" hundreds of years old. All are told by Leavy with a vibrancy that brings them to life for another generation of readers and listeners, introducing them to the brave Irish heroes Cuchulainn and the Red Branch Knights and to Fionn Mac Cumhail and the Fianna. Another hero is the leprechaun in "The Pot of Gold," who cunningly outsmarts a lazy and mean-spirited farmer. There are background notes for each story, followed by a pronunciation guide at the book's conclusion. Leavy's talented storytelling is enhanced by Susan Field's inspired and intensely colored artwork. Scenes from the tales are composed from perspectives that draw readers into the action, and motifs from the Celtic tradition further decorate the pages. Lovely to look at and exciting to read, this collection is a memorable addition to folklore shelves. Ellen Mandel
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