“An Irish Country Love Story”

The title tells it all.  This nostalgic, sentimental story set in 1967, is filled with love.  Love of country, love of its people, its lakes, rivers, countryside, and the characters who inhabit this slice of Northern Ireland, Ballybucklebo, County Down.

In his preface, author Paul Taylor explains that even though this is the eleventh book in his series, Irish Country Doctor,the first-time reader, of which I am one, need not worry.
“You can start and enjoy this series in any one of the books.”9780765382726_p0_v3_s192x300.jpg

This story revolves around the doctors of Number One Main Street.  Doctor Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly and his associates Dr. Barry Laverty and Doctor Nonie Stevenson minister to the local folk of the area.  They are true country doctors who must diagnose and treat all symptoms and ailments.

The readers follow the characters as they face the daily challenges of their lives.  Dr. O’Reilly trying to squeeze out time to be with his lovely wife nurse Kitty O’Reilly.  Dr. Laverty and his fiance Sue Nolan making plans for their wedding.  Dr. Stevenson dealing with an unexpected, personal health crisis.  As these story lines unfold, a careening truck crashes into Number One Main Street causing damage to the front room of the building.  Now the town council must decide whether to reroute traffic around the town or tear down Number One and the neighboring building.

This is not a story about earth-shaking events.  It is a simple tale of loving people in a quiet, pastoral setting.  Taylor’s affection for his native country is evident as he tells a simple story set in a simpler time.


“Owl Sees Owl”

Using less than thirty words, author Laura Godwin has created a simple story told in the form of a reverso poem.  A baby owl leaves the nest on a dark night to explore his world. HOME MAMA BROTHER SISTER.  These four words begin his journey.  As he flies through the night sky MOON BEAM EYES GLEAM explain what he is experiencing.  As he soars over the landscape he lands on a lake and sees his reflection in the water: OWL.

As he makes his journey back home, Godwin uses the same thirty words to trace owl’s path.  Finally ending with SISTER BROTHER MAMA HOME.

Rob Dunlavey, the illustrator, uses watercolor, colored pencil and ink to depict the dark evening sky as he focuses on the owl’s journey9780553497823_p0_v1_s118x184.jpgYoung children ages 3-7 will enjoy following the owl’s adventure as he flies through the night sky and returns to the warmth of his family.

“Grand Canyon”

A well-written and beautifully illustrated new book “Grand Canyon” will introduce young readers to this amazing natural wonder.  The reader follows a father and his daughter as they hike the canyon.  Each page offers information about rocks, animal life, vegetation, and the history of this vast “hole in the ground.”  9781596439504_p0_v2_s118x184.jpg

Author-illustrator Jason Chin makes the story of the canyon come alive with his full-color, large illustrations.  From diagrams explaining the different rock layers to detailed drawings of trees, animals, and birds, readers interested in nature will enjoy the journey.

The author explains that “each illustration in the book depicts a location along specific trails.”  If the readers visit the Grand Canyon, they will be able to find the exact spots pictured in the book.

“A Man Called Ove”

Ove is a fifty-nine year old Swede who has to be one of the most lovable curmudgeons in recent literary history.  Is there anything to like about him?  He is abrupt to the point of being rude, short-tempered, stubborn, single-minded, his way or no way.  He is simply a person you really do not want to know.  At the very outset of Fredrik Backman’s novel, the reader learns that Ove drives a Saab–always has and always will.  He sees no reason why anyone would buy any other automobile.  When his friend buys an Audi, their friendship ends.9781476738024_p0_v4_s118x184.jpg

Always a quiet individual, life deals Ove a series of emotional blows.  He loses both his parents when he is relatively young, his house burns down, he loses his job.  When he meets Anita he cannot believe that she could come to love him.  But then the gods deal him yet another blow.  She loses their child and eventually Ove loses her to cancer.

How does this bitter man become one loved by his neighbors and new friends?  It isn’t easy for them or for him.  But this transformational process makes this book and charming, funny story.  As Ove tries to shut out all those around him, he succumbs to their requests and needs just to get rid of them.  In the end, of course, they shake up his world,and he learns that life is better when it is shared.


“Laundry Day”

What can badgers do when they are bored?  In her new book, “Laundry Day,” Jessixa Bagley answers that question with a delightful, well-written story.

On a beautiful summer’s day, Tic and Tac can’t find anything to do.  They have read all their books, forward and backward, built and invaded their fort, and caught all the fish in the pond.  Their mom suggests that they help hang the laundry that she has just washed.  This suggestion is so appealing to the brothers that when they run out of laundry to hang, they look around and find countless objects to hang from the line.

Illustrated in soft watercolors, young children will enjoy the antics of the two badgers.  This is a great read aloud story–“They pilfered the pots. They pirated pillows.  They looted lampshades and even the toaster.”  Hopefully, the concept9781626723177_p0_v2_s118x184.jpgof hanging clothes on a line isn’t too old-fashioned for young readers.