The idea of introducing philosophy to children is one that may seem daunting, but O’Donoghue approaches this topic in a form that all young readers will understand – that of stories. From the outset this introduction is posing questions that ask how much we think about our thinking and why we think how we do.
The book is structured into mini-chapters that contain both short stories and informative discussion that includes questions for the reader to consider, as well as short biographies of key philosophers from Plato to Buddha, via our own John Moriarty and Jesus Christ. The three sections of the book introduce us to characters that O’Donoghue calls heroes because of the steps they take to understand their world, by wondering, then questioning then listening and wondering some more. There are ancient animal fables that explain significant philosophical concepts, but also tales of familiar heroes such as Fionn Mac Cumhaill and his quest for knowledge, as well as Arthurian knights. The heroes are tested with great questions – and so too is the reader. The chapter on Nothing is a daring addition. O’Donoghue gives us the stories from across the old kingdoms of India and China, but also ancient Ireland, and shows how modern life can be moulded for the better by encompassing philosophical ethics.
This is an extraordinary compilation emboldened with McGloin’s bold stylised illustrations that both condenses and celebrates great philosophy, inviting readers young and old to think about thinking.