cover image Finn Maccoul and His Fearless Wife: A Giant of a Tale from Ireland

Finn Maccoul and His Fearless Wife: A Giant of a Tale from Ireland

Robert Byrd, Author, Anonymous, Author, Robert Byrd, Retold by Dutton Books $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-525-45971-2

When Finn MacCoul, the larger-than-life hero of Celtic lore, needs help defeating a foe, there's only one place to turn: his wife. This evocative picture book amalgam of MacCoul tales whisks young readers to big adventure in days of old. Though MacCoul is just about as large as they come (""It was said he ate one hundred potatoes and thirty cabbages on his first birthday""), even he ""shakes in his shoes"" when scary giant Cucullin comes looking for him. Luckily, MacCoul's wife, Oonagh, has a magic harp--and some clever ideas for outwitting the bully Cucullin. Before long Cucullin is sent bouncing down Knockmany Hill, never to be heard from again. Byrd's text has a lilting style in the tradition of great Irish storytelling. He unravels events at a leisurely pace, creating plenty of entertaining situations and banter. Byrd festoons his lively ink-and-watercolor paintings with such historical details as ornate gold bracelets and belts, brightly dyed frocks and type and designs inspired by illuminated Celtic manuscripts. A rollicking good yarn. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)