The Story of Brian Boru

Ann Carroll’s The Story of Brian Boru is a welcome addition to the host of publications marking the 1,000th anniversary of The Battle of Clontarf. Carroll guides us with ease through Ireland’s Middle Ages, a time of upheaval and many power struggles between the island’s many kings and the Vikings. It is here we meet Brian Boru, a fierce and intelligent warrior. Through his quick wit and bravery, Boru has secured a place of power amongst Ireland’s kings, much to the envy of his rivals…

The engaging dialogue and informal language ensure learning is fun and light-hearted, especially as Carroll never overwhelms us with historic detail. Carroll scatters her tale with traditional Irish colloquialisms, giving the book a distinctively Irish feel. The text is clearly laid out with apt chapter breaks to allow for easy digestion of important historic markers.

Carroll’s informal and no-nonsense prose is complemented by Dillon’s clear and energetic illustrative style. His black and white cartoony pictures add to the drama while focusing the reader’s attention on key moments and messages.

The Story of Brian Boru gives children a fun and accurate introduction to Ireland’s historic tales. Children, having read of great Boru, will be eager to dip into other titles in the In a Nutshell collection. This series would be a fantastic resource for parents and teachers alike. A true gem.