cover image MRS. McCOOL AND THE GIANT CUHULLIN: An Irish Tale


Jessica Souhami, . . Holt, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-6852-8

In this perky tale inspired by characters from Irish folklore, a clever woman uses a bit o' the blarney to prove that brains trump brawn . Cuhullin, a legendary giant, believes he's strongest in the world. Only one definitive test stands in his way: to defeat fellow giant Finn McCool. When Finn learns that Cuhullin is due to come after him, he turns to his wife, Oona, for advice. Well-practiced at getting Finn out of difficult scrapes, Oona quickly devises a plan to outwit Cuhullin. A fast-paced story results, filled with slapstick humor. Young readers will be giggling at both giants deriving power from a magic finger (Finn sees into the future when he sucks his thumb) and the sight of Finn—mustache and all—pretending to be a baby. Souhami's (No Dinner!: The Story of the Old Woman and the Pumpkin) artwork, a mix of cut- and torn-paper collage with pastel accents, lends an appropriately jaunty air to the proceedings. Her wide variety of perspectives and funny visual details play up the giants' stature and add depth to the retelling. A note on the story's origin is included. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)