By Mary Gallagher
The Dog Who Lost His Bark
By Eoin Colfer
Illustrations by PJ Lynch
This heartwarming story is perfect for enthusiastic young readers. With large, clear font, a simple vocabulary, and an engaging story about finding one’s family, the book hits all the right notes.
“Dog” is a puppy who’s been through a lot, and his once-happy bark has faded to a whimper. Then Patrick, whom he refers to as “AWESOME PATRICK,” finds him at the pound and brings him home, and he learns to open his heart to humans again, starting a new life with a new name – “Oz” – in a new home, filled with love and music.
Oz finds that Patrick’s family is in the midst of their own life-changing journey, and that they need him as much as he needs them. He throws himself whole-heartedly into his role as Patrick’s best friend, and the two pals bolster each other to brave one’s unhappy past and navigate the other’s uncertain future.
Artemis Fowl author Eoin Colfer’s subtly sweet relation of a summer through the eyes of a dog and his boy is accompanied by detailed, evocative illustrations by award-winning Irish artist P.J. Lynch. If your family doesn’t have a dog (preferably a rescue) by the time you’ve finished reading, be warned: you may be getting one whether you like it or not.
144 pages / $16.99 / Candlewick Press
The Sleeping Giant
By Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
Take a quick detour to Kerry, where off the coast lies a small island – or is it actually a friendly giant, sleeping off a hearty meal? Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick’s beloved 1991 children’s classic The Sleeping Giant, which tells the story of a bumbling tower of a man who awakens in the wrong century, has been re-released in paperback form.
A happy-go-lucky fellow with an earth-shaking walk, the Kerry giant crushes farmhouses and creates new landmarks with every step. When an ancient spell in his stew puts him to sleep, the people live in peace and enjoy the landscape his slumbering form creates for hundreds of years – until he wakes up! Stumbling through a land that is no longer his own as he destroys buildings and terrifies people in his wake, the distraught giant meets a little girl, Ann, who helps him find his way back to the sea where he belongs.
Young readers with an interest in funny folklore will enjoy this modern extension of Irish mythology, which is dedicated to the author’s own daughter – Ann. The story is based on legends of the island Inishtooskert, (known as An Fear Marbh, Irish for “the dead man,” because it resembles a man laying on his back). The story may not put your child to sleep, but it promises to make you both laugh.
32 pages / €9.99 / The O’Brien Press
My Little Album of Dublin
By Juliette Saumande and Tarsila Krüse
Enjoy a tour of Dublin with your little one with this picture book of adorably illustrated city landmarks. Starting on O’Connell Street and venturing through the DART, Croke Park, and other sites, the Little Album is a young reader’s adaptation of the I Spy books, with a collection of surprises to be found in every colorful expanse in a simple, engaging game of identification and recognition.
The items hidden within each scene are arrayed on the following pages, with their names printed both in English and as Gaeilge. The simple translations make reading the book not only a fun virtual tour of Dublin (or Baile Atha Cliath), but a tool that will fan an interest and aptitude with the Irish language early on.
Authors Juliette Saumande and Tarsila Krüse, from France and Brazil respectively, have both made their homes in Dublin, and their picture book reflects the eager enthusiasm for a place that can only be held by residents who have chosen it. If you can’t make it in person, take your child on a visit to Ireland’s capital through the vividly colorful pages of My Little Album of Dublin.
32 pages / $14.25 / The O’Brien Press