Puffling and the Egg

Written by Erika McGann and illustrated by Gerry Daly

Reviewed by Janine Kennedy

The premise of this story is that a cute little puffling (baby puffin) wakes up to find a lost egg and follows it around on an epic adventure on Skellig Michael to help it return to its nest. My three kids are four, five and eight and you could say there is often an argument at bedtime when it comes to which book to read. The eight-year-old wants chapter books while the four-year-old still wants picture books. However, when I brought home Puffling and the Egg there were no arguments and we have read it many times together since.

The story is sweet and the illustrations are adorable, which helps when you have three animal-loving girls. My top tip is if you can pull off a high-pitched “puffling voice”, there are guaranteed giggles to be had by everyone – young or old.

You will find Puffling and the Egg in all major bookshops around Ireland or online at easons.com or bookdepository.com (starting at €12.99)

Stones and Stories: Poems and Tales from a Hidden Burren

Stones and Stories

Written by Marie McGauran and illustrated by Shane O’Donoghue

Reviewed by Janine Kennedy

Something about this beautifully written and illustrated book feels vintage – like it would be just as lovely a gift for your grandad as it would be for your child. These cute poems and short stories are agriculturally focused and bring us back to simpler times in the beautiful Burren region of Co Clare.

The story of Uncle Mick with his goats is a simple delight and, while the book is a compilation of poems and stories, it’s not a heavy read.

My kids loved looking at the pictures; pointing out the different animals, flowers and landscapes sketched out. I see us reading this many times more in front of a cosy fire.

You can buy it in paperback online (€12) at theburrenbook.com and it’s also on sale in selected bookshops in counties Galway, Clare and Sligo.

Mo Chuid Amhráin Nollag

Written by Risteard Mac Liam and illustrated by Tatyana Feeney

Reviewed by Ciara Leahy

Big shoutout to Risteard Mac Liam in Co Meath, the man behind Mo Chuid Amhráin Ghaeilge. His books have been responsible for a quiet little girl on many car trips, dawn mornings and, occasionally, those dodgy moments in a restaurant before the meal arrives and she is on the brink of a tantrum. Mo Chuid Amhrain Ghaeilge are music books which entertain and even calm my two-year-old as she touches play on Irish classics such as Oró Sé Do Bheatha Bhaile and Báidín Fheilimí.

Risteard, who is a teacher and translator, came up with the concept as a way to make the Irish language more accessible to young children – using traditional songs and culture to bring Irish to life for families.

Another two books are being released for Christmas, one with Irish Christmas songs and another in English. The Irish one includes Daidí na Nollaig and I Leataobh I Mainséar. Given how popular the books are that we already have, Mo Chuid Amhráin Nollag and My Christmas Songs are on Molly Leahy’s Santa list.

Peppa Goes to Ireland

Peppa Pig goes to Ireland

Reviewed by Ciara Leahy

What is it with Peppa Pig? Personally, I don’t get the hype but my little girl who is nearly two is absolutely fascinated with the little pig and her brother who loves to splash in muddy puddles. She will go back and forth to the book shelf picking up one Peppa Pig book after another. So when we heard Peppa was going to Ireland, we had to indulge. Off Peppa goes with Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig on to the big ferry and then they follow the winding roads up and down and over the hills until they reach the Irish dancing festival. There is a bit of passive aggressive tension between Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig about how much stuff to pack on their holiday but Mummy’s overpacking saves the day at the end, which will keep parents mildly entertained as they read the book for the 100th time.

Change Sings

Change Sings by Amanda Gorman

Written by Amanda Gorman and illustrated by Loren Long

Reviewed by Ciara Leahy

One of the most standout moments at Joe Biden’s inauguration in January was Amanda Gorman taking to the stage – a young poet who spoke passionately about change.

This Christmas, she has released a beautiful children’s book with rhyming lyrics all about the change that we can all make in the world. On her journey, she gathers her gang of pals, all of different races and abilities. It’s a beautiful book of inclusivity and inspiration, perfect for showing children that their voice matters.

A Hug For You

A Hug for You by Adam King

Written by David King and illustrated by Rhiannon Archard

Review by Ciara Leahy

When Adam King took to the stage at the Late Late Toy Show last year, he warmed the hearts of the nation and it’s the hug that keeps on giving as his dad David has written a book about how Adam’s idea for A Hug for You developed. The hug travels from Adam to his teacher who then passes it on to a nurse and a grandad and even to astronauts, and grows on its travels before it returns home to the wonderful boy Adam.

Interspersed are paragraphs about the fact that we are living in a pandemic which helps older children to understand this strange time a little better.

My little girl is a little too young to understand the meaning but she loves the illustrations and I give her an extra big hug when we read it. Because, at its essence, it is all about love and caring for people and that message comes across whatever their age. It really is a book that warms your heart.

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