Yes, I know that St. Patrick’s Day was a while ago, but I never had a chance to share this book and now it’s due back at the library. It was such a great read, too — well-written with interesting illustrations — that I felt bad just returning the book without a mention.
You really feel like you’re reading an Irish story with this book — I like the way the voice of the local folks picks up the vernacular:
The man turned toward Tralah and stopped at Mrs. Donegal’s house at the edge of town. He pounded on the front door. Mrs. Donegal, scissors in hand, answered.
Frantically the little man asked, “Begging your pardon, can you help me? I was leading my cows across the river and, sure and begorra, they are stuck in the mud!”
What’s happening here, by the way, is that an elf-like man with pointy ears and a beard down to his stomach is trying to get some help from the local townsfolk. But the people of Tralah are too busy trying to win a town-decoration competition to help the little man out.
The good people of Tralee do help the little man, though. Magically, their plans to paint their entire town green come true, even though they were unable to complete the job because they were busy getting the cows unstuck from the mud.
I loved this book. It’s just a folk tale, but Wojciechowski really captures the flavor of the local dialect and the humor of an age-old rivalry between towns. And my son liked Fiona Riley, a “wee lass of seven,” who decides that the competition should be no more, and that everyone should decorate their towns together and share in a meal of lamb and boiled potatoes “simply for the joy of it.”
So happy St. Patrick’s Day, all of you, on this fine day, the 3rd of May! ABZ