cover image Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure

Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure

Robert D. San Souci, Sally Wern Comport. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $17.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-689-81072-5

Copper-haired, fair-skinned Margaret strikes a blow for womankind in this high-spirited tale set in ancient Ireland. Margaret is content to run her small farm in County Donegal until the day a magnificent ship, captained by young Prince Simon, anchors nearby. Simon stirs Margaret's heart and her sense of adventure and she pleads to accompany him on his journey. He agrees, but a battle with a sea serpent sends Margaret ashore alone, where she takes refuge with an old hag during a storm. Margaret soon learns that her hostess is a sorceress who will not allow her to reunite with Simon until the young woman slays a monster. San Souci's adaptation of a traditional West Irish tale races along at fever pitch, bringing Margaret to the brink of disaster again and again. He carefully integrates magical elements into the action and also challenges young readers with a sprinkling of words authentic to the time and place (byre, kine, maw). In her picture book debut, Comport uses dark and rugged pastels and varying perspective to capture the drama of Margaret's adventures. Her vivid, crashing waves, rearing horses and bellowing monsters enhance this exciting read. Ages 5-10. (Feb.)