Tag Archives: O’Brien Press

Review: ‘Where’s Larry?’

WheresLarryFor years now us Irish, and lovers of all things Celtic alike, have had a fascination with leprechauns. These funny little fellas with mischievous grins and a penchant for divilment have filled us with wonder for centuries, heck there’s even a leprechaun museum. I watched Darby O’Gill And The Little People as a child, and have felt slightly uneasy about these cheeky little chap pies sever since.

Larry the Leprechaun by Philip Barrett (O’Brien Press) is a great book for kids and adults. In the vein of ‘Where’s Wally’, Larry is a lost leprechaun who must be located among a sea of amusing characters – mostly hilarious Irish stereotypes including hurlers and historical figures. There are lots of random characters in the crowd; mime artists, aliens…the list is infinite. Each page sees Larry in a different scene such as the St Patricks Day Parade, and Irish heritage sites such as Newgrange. The illustrations are incredibly vibrant and detailed so huge kudos to the artist.

Rather than have an oul’ wan like myself to solely review the book (or my 2-year-old with the attention span of a goldfish), I gave it to two of my wonderful students from Kidcast Theatre School, Sophie Fagan Barry (9) and Tori Dillon (10). Here are their thoughts on the book:

Our excellent reviewers, Sophie & Tori!

Our excellent reviewers, Sophie & Tori!

Describe the Book;

Well it’s a bit like Where’s Wally but it’s better because it’s more entertaining and there are more characters to find.

What are your favourite parts of the book?

We like the book because if you like finding things, it’ll be good. It’ll keep you entertained for a long time. If you have some free time to fill, this book will keep you amused for ages and well… Because it’s just really good.

Who do you think this book would appeal to?

We think this book would appeal to all ages as there’s something for everybody. If you’re bored just pick up the book and it’ll keep you busy for ages.

What are your favourite characters?

We loved the clown, the witches…who was the fella with the hurling stick…oh yeah, Cuchulainn and of course we loved Larry.

Rate this book out of 10

We rate this book a nine out of ten because it’s just very fun.


 Well you can’t get more honest than that!

I think that this book would be a great gift to send away to all of those Irish nieces, nephews and loved ones living abroad. It is a warm and humorous homage to all things Irish and all in all, a great book.


**You can order this, and other children’s titles from O’Brien Press at: The O’Brien Press Website




Competition: Win ‘Celtic Names For Children’ from O’Brien Press

CelticNamesForChildrenWe have a great prize for anyone who is, or knows someone who is, expecting a baby and just can’t come up with the perfect baby name!

Celtic Names for Children is a dictionary of over 2,000 Celtic names from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man and Brittany, which contains origins, meanings and pronunciation.

To enter our draw to win the book, please send your name and address to: info@raisingireland.com before midnight on Sunday the 8th of March. We will announce our winners on March 9th.



REVIEW: A Rosette for Maeve and Colm’s Lambs by Anna McQuinn

ARosetteforMaeveWritten 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 ColmsLambsbabies. 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


REVIEW: ‘Oscar Wilde – Stories for Children’

OscarWildeStoriesforChildrenAs 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