Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Finn McCool and the Great Fish - Eve Bunting

Illustrated by Zachary Pullen
Sleeping Bear Press, 2010
32 pages
Rating: 4.5
Endpapers - Green with yellow diamonds & dot pattern

This brand new picture book/Irish legend by the great Eve Bunting will be a perfect read aloud for St. Patrick's Day. Not only is it a feast for the eyes, it's a story that can be richly discussed.

Finn McCool-a huge giant who lives in Drumnahoon, Ireland, is a kind and helpful soul. He is also not the brightest - and he wants some wisdom so he can be more helpful to his countrymen. He hears of a man named Simon the Baker who knows a great source of wisdom, so Finn travels to a nearby town to speak with him.

He is told that the wisdom he seeks is in a red salmon who lives in a nearby river. "Catch him and eat him," he is told.

So yes, Finn catches the great fish, but he is a compassionate giant and cannot bring himself to kill it. In typical mythological fashion he is rewarded for this sparing-of-life, thus bringing up the aforementioned discussion topics.

Every page is a masterpiece. The storytelling is fun. Add an outline map of Ireland, show its place in Europe and the world, and you have a tantalyzing St. Patrick's Day presentation!

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