Introducing a special new edition of Marian Broderick’s The Lost Fairy with a brand new cover designed by Shelagh-Jessica Gilbourne from Millstreet, Co. Cork, winner of the Children’s Books Ireland/The O’Brien ‘Design A Cover’ Competition!
Flora the diary reckons she is the most important part of Christmas and the most beautiful fairy ever! But Flora has heard worrying stories that some families put a star on the top of the tree. Can you imagine it? A mere star! Flora makes sure to kick the star back down a few branches every time she sees it advancing up the tree. But when Flora falls off the tree, the vain and selfish diary has much to learn before she can regain her rightful place on the Christmas tree.For a chance to win a copy of this very special book, just like Raising Ireland on Facebook and leave a comment below. (By the way, “WTF IT’S NOT EVEN CHRISTMAS?!” is totally acceptable.
***Competition Closes At Midnight on June 10th***
Written in association with the Irish Farmers Journal, these two books – set in the fictional Glenmore Valley – offer a glimpse into what life is really like for a child growing up in a small Irish rural community. A Rosette for Maeve tells the story of nine-year-old Lisa O’Sullivan, who lives on a beef farm with her family. When Lisa is given the exciting task of showing a new calf at the Glenmore Valley Show, she has just a few days to learn how to train, groom and handle a Belgian Blue called Maeve, a boisterous bovine who fancies herself as a bit of a supermodel. It’s a sweet, simple tale about how a young girl deals with responsibility and is dotted with educational facts about calves which knowledge-hungry kids will enjoy.
While A Rosette for Maeve is light-hearted, Colm’s Lambs has a darker edge. It is lambing season on the O’Connor sheep farm, and eight-year-old Colm is helping his farmer Dad deliver the babies. When one of the lambs dies, Colm remains pragmatic yet pensive, whereas two visiting children from Dublin are utterly distraught at the notion of an animal dying. The reality of farming life is laid more bare in this book – Colm’s Dad is exhausted after pulling lambing all-nighters, and one poor newborn is abandoned by its mother – so it would be a good choice for a child who is bored of sugar-coated stories and fancies something a bit more emotionally challenging.
Both books are illustrated with charming watercolours by Paul Young and my three-year-old daughter, while too young to understand the content, really enjoyed looking at the pictures and making up her own story! Boys and girls from the age of six upwards will enjoy the Glenmore Valley series – be they from the country or a city – and will look forward to finding out more about the valley’s other residents, from Geraldine Brosnan the vet to the art-loving Caffrey family who run the local cafe.
To order either of these books, please visit the O’Brien Press Website
As a child, my favorite books were by author Enid Blyton. I would spend hours pouring over well thumbed copies of my old friends. Unfortunately these days, children’s stories have become rather saccharine. They no longer warn of the dangers of climbing a magic tree and peeking at the pixies or dodging the washer woman’s water. Although the life lessons were told from a very fantastic perspective, it was easy to apply them to real life; I learned not to poke my nose in where it wasn’t wanted and to always look ahead so that I could steer clear of oncoming hazards.
I read Stories for Children and was immediately brought back to that world, where the stories I read helped me learn how to become an adult. The major theme running through the three stories is one of self sacrifice for the greater good, which is a little more serious than anything I learned from good old Enid. From a sentient statue that gives up his gold and jewelled exterior, leaving him grey and abandoned, to help the poor people of his town, to a bird that committed Hara-kiri so that a poet might have a shot with a girl, this book is most suited to an older child or teen who would understand the core messages.
This edition of Stories for Children features some of the most beautiful illustrations I have ever seen in a children’s book. Wilde’s ability to mould the reader’s imagination is partnered perfectly with Robinson’s knack for watercolour. This allows the reader to not only form their own idea of the events as they unfold, but it also promotes a shared experience among readers of this book, as every expertly reproduced image weaves itself into a mental picture.
All in all, I cannot recommend this book enough. Go get it now; read it on your own, read it to your kids, read it to an old person in a home, just read it. It truly is wonderful.
*To order this book, please visit The O’Brien Press Website