How can the year be divided into four? Who was the king with the silver arm? What are ‘brain balls?!’ – ‘Mythical Irish Wonders’ is a collection of myths detailing the obscure, lesser-known stories “handed down to us from Irish Saints and Scholars”. Captivating and concise, the range of stories compiled by writer and illustratorMark Joyce provide enough information to stimulate its audience’s curiosity and imagination, while also offering plenty of sources for intrigued readers to investigate further.

It’s impossible to overlook the appeal of the vibrant and intriguing illustrations accompanying the book’s tales. They alone could stimulate hours of discussion – and of course, provide stunning stimuli for young artists! 

‘Mythical Irish Wonders’ is beautifully written. As an adult, the author’s style of writing makes me nostalgic for the storytellers of my past – old neighbours, grandparents, and teachers. Joyce conveys the magic of fireside storytelling in an accessible text abundant with rich language and littered with etymological references to Irish names, place names, and seasons, making it an incredibly informative point of reference for children and adults alike.  

The book has enormous potential across the curriculum beyond its historical significance, complimenting and supporting literacy, Gaeilge, the arts, geography, music and even STEM (wait until you hear how the first harp was made!) It is an ideal book to use as a daily read-aloud for teachers and an enticing text for even the most reluctant readers.

While a number of the characters are familiar – Queen Medb, Cú Chulainn and Fionn mac Cumhaill to name but a few – a lot of the stories are not. The book is unlike anything I have ever read; it is an experience. ‘Mythical Irish Wonders’ should be shared, discussed, and returned to again and again. It is the perfect addition to any senior classroom or home library for curious readers and lovers of Irish folklore young and old!

This book undoubtedly deserves five stars – I look forward to sharing this with my pupils and to welcoming more works from Mark Joyce into my classroom!

 Emma Ní Fhearchair, 6th class teacher, Dublin 15

Mythical Irish Wonders” by Mark Joyce, published by Currach Books, is on sale now for €22.99 (H/B).

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher, Currach Books, free of charge to Seomra Ranga for the purposes of this review