Giants and Wolves, with an Irish twist

delighted to be able to share news of 2 delightful new Irish picturebooks from @obrienpress

Brian and the Giant
Written by Chris Judge (of Lonely Beast fame)
Illustrated by Mark Wickham
Age 3+

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We have been fans of Brian for a while; the first in the series featured the young redhead’s adventures with the Vikings and is pretty much the best picture book about Vikings for toddlers. In this second book, Brian and his friends are pitched against a fearsome Giant, who has caused a drought and a really bad smell in Brian’s town land! Brian is an inventor by nature, though, and soon he manages to save the village from famine.
The language is simple and Judge is a great judge of structure. There is just enough repetition, without stalling the plot. The story itself offers some great starting points for discussing climate change, pollution, how we use water for energy, and Irish history.
Wickham’s blocky, spritely characters move with verve across the pages. The pink smell that signals the Giant’s smell is pretty ugly though – an accidental pink scribble type effect. Despite clear lines, there is actually a lot of detail, and young un’s will be rewarded for their attention in the re-read, which in this house occurred 3 times daily for a week.
My 18 month old really loved it too, to my surprise. He has perfected a bad smell face for the dramatic moments (and also just to get a laugh, clever thing)
A Dublin Fairytale
Written and illustrated by Colton
Age 3+

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Little Red Riding Hood gets a modern makeover in this quirky tour through contemporary Dublin. Fiona, who lives in a terraced house in the city with her mam, is sent to bring a Special witche’s brew to Granny, who isn’t feeling well. As she passes by familiar landmarks – Stephen’ Green, Trinity College, the Ha’penny Bridge, Moore Street – she meets various ogres, trolls and dragons, all of the friendly variety. Just as well. They come to her aid when the Big Bad Wolf, in a hoody and sweat pants, tries to steal her bag.
This is a fun and uniquely Irish book that will appeal to city dwellers and their children, who will get a kick out of seeing familiar places turned into mythical sites. The illustrations are naïf and accessible. You can well imagine older readers being inspired to use their own local neighbourhood as the starting point for a similar tale.

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