Let’s See Ireland
By Sarah Bowie
We are delighted by the current wealth of picture-books that are helping us explore our native land. We regularly pull out Irelandopedia by Fatti Burke and John Burke, an enormous illustrated map book, to help us plan weekend trips or put into context the blur of a round tower we pass while speeding on the motorway. My boys are a bit too young to fully appreciate it yet, but anyone with kids in primary school chould have a look at it: it would be an original, and visually stunning way, to make geography more attractive to the reluctant student.
Let’s See Ireland by Sarah Bowie provides a more basic introduction to famous sites around the country. As Molly and her parents embark upon a road trip around the island, their cat Mipsy hides in their luggage and goes along for the ride. The sites chosen are the obvious ones – The Giant’s Causeway, Newgrange, Hook Head Lighthouse – which are introduced in spare, cursory text. I would have loved to see a bit more detail given, as it makes the read-aloud quality a bit thin. There are further elaborations at the end of the book, but young children aren’t really fond of end-notes! My kids, however, really enjoyed trying to find Mipsy on every page, and that has sustained us over multiple readings. It would make a particularly great gift for young friends or relatives visiting Ireland for the first time.