St Brigid’s story is brought to life in the latest addition to Poolbeg’s ‘In a nutshell’ series, aimed at readers aged 6 and above. Preceded by a map of Ireland and followed by instructions for making your own cross and a pronunciation guide; this is definitely a teaching book. Between these sections, there is a story deftly told with great humour sure to keep young readers engrossed.
Themes of resilience, social responsibility and self-determination will please educators and parents alike, along with a rich vocabulary skilfully introduced. The balance between contemporary vernacular and formal language is carefully judged, and the main body of the story flows effortlessly.
While the cover is a little dry, inside the illustrations shine. Derry Dillon’s black and white cartoons, while distinctly Irish, are reminiscent of Asterix in their humour. Lumpy-faced Brigid, bossy priests and stubbly suitors animate this tale and playfully capture the tone of the text.
Contemporary and engaging, this title is sure to generate an interest in Irish mythology and foster a love of reading.