The Salmon of Knowledge

This retelling captures the essence of the Irish myth of Fionn MacCumhaill in a gorgeous modern edition by Irish writer and illustrator, Celina Buckley. A primary teacher, Buckley graduated from Cambridge School of Art with a Masters in Children’s Book Illustration, joining such graduates as Jenni Desmond and Steve Antony. This is her first picturebook, and it will be of great appeal to younger readers, either those enjoying story time with parents, or those reading on their own. Text is kept to a minimum, with the wonderful full page illustrations contributing equally to the story.

The book ripples with humour – there are numerous examples, but in particular, a map of Ireland has Finnegas standing on the west coast, fishing rod in hand, desperate to catch the salmon of knowledge, while around the map he is seen in boats and gazing into the water. His surprise and joy when he eventually discovers and catches the salmon is conveyed on two pages, Finnegas standing on rocks in a corner while the reader’s eye is drawn under the water to focus on the salmon.

The instructions on HOW TO BECOME A WARRIOR (capitalised so the reader is aware of their importance!) are brilliant. Buckley uses a tree with several branches to convey the instructions, such as ‘Jump over a branch as tall as yourself,’ and ‘Learn twelve books of poetry off by heart.’

An enchanting and fun picturebook which will appeal to younger readers.