Sharon Kennedy,
More Irish Folk Tales for Children
(Rounder, 2001)

With Sharon Kennedy's charming Irish brogue, lively musical accompaniments, and charming, witty characters, More Irish Folk Tales for Children will delight both young and old story lovers. As a follow up to her award-winning Irish Folk Tales, the Irish-American Kennedy relates four more Irish-flavoured stories, one original and three traditional variations.

In "Annie O'Reilly and the Magic Dancing Pig," this grammy-winning storyteller creates an original tale set in a kingdom ruled by a selfish king. When the king wrongfully takes Annie O'Reilly's magic pig away from her, Annie tricks the King into returning her pet.

Adding a poor, little girl to the traditional tale "Peddler of Ballaghaderen," Kennedy recreates the tale into to become "The Banogue Bridge." When Peggy dreams of a big, bag of money under the Banogue Bridge, her family believes it to be foolishness. But when the dream won't go away, Peggy must listen to her heart.

The legendary folk-giants Finn McCool and Cuchulain come to life in Kennedy's "Finn McCool," a children's version of the epic saga. In this well-woven yarn, Finn, the Irish giant, goes up against Scotland's champion. Fortunately, Finn has something Cuchulain does not -- a clever, wee wife named Oona.

After an instrumental waltz through "The Green Hills," Kennedy conjures a last tale in which "Tommy O'Rourke Visits the Moon." Tommy's entire family excels at the sport of hurling. Although they try hard to teach him, Tommy just can't get the hang of it. Angry at his family for pushing him so hard, Tommy leaves home. On a magical journey to the moon, he realizes the special gifts his family has given him, as well as his own.

Kennedy's animated vocals and terrific tales make this folk-tale compilation a fantastic journey of the imagination. I look forward to "even more" Irish folk tales from this talented storyteller.

[ by Lynne Remick ]
Rambles: 15 September 2001

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