O'Sullivan Stew: A Tale Cooked Up in Ireland

by Hudson Talbott (Author) Hudson Talbott (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Someone has stolen the witch of Crookhaven's horse, and there will be no peace in the village until it is returned. So bold, brassy Kate O'Sullivan takes matters into her own hands. But instead of saving the day, she manages to land herself--and her family--in trouble with the king. So Kate sets out to save their hides the only way she knows how--with a good story.

Filled with imagination, wit, and a healthy helping of good old-fashioned Irish blarney, this is a hilarious tale that will keep readers coming back for more.

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Publishers Weekly

A witch, sea serpent, giant, fairies and wild beasts are among the staples in Talbott's (We're Back: A Dinosaur's Story; Amazon Diary) bubbly story, set on the coast of Ireland. Trouble begins when the king's soldiers lay claim to a stallion belonging to the local witch and her neighbors do nothing to help. With the witch in a snit, fishnets come up empty, cows refuse to give milk and gardens die. To save the village from starvation, feisty Kate O'Sullivan convinces her father and brothers to accompany her to the king's palace to steal back the horse. Their bumbling attempt fails and the clan is brought before the ruler, who agrees to spare Kate's life if she tells him a story that proves that she has been in a "worse spot" before. The heroine duly impresses the monarch with her descriptive flashbacks to a prior, enticingly preposterous close call, then rescues her kin with stories about them. Several clever turns of plot add spice to this appetizing concoction. Like his narrative, Talbott's high-spirited art occasionally approaches the slapstick, as when a band of "demonic" cats huddles around Kate's brother, their eyes gleaming and their teeth exposed in wicked grins, singing a screechy version of "Danny Boy" to "earn" their supper from the frightened lad. Visually and verbally inventive in its details and its broader storytelling, this one is a shiny shamrock. Ages 5-up. (Feb.)

Copyright 1999 Publisher’s Weekly, LLC Used with permission.


Give this one to fairy-tale fans, especially those already familiar with the stories of the Arabian Nights.

Review quotes

Hudson Talbott
Hudson Talbott has written and illustrated more than 20 children's books, including Newbery Honor winner Show Way (by Jacqueline Woodson), ALA Notable Book and VOYA Honor Book Leonardo's Horse (by Jean Fritz), and We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story, which was adapted into an animated film by Steven Spielberg. He lives in the Hudson Valley of New York and in New York City.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Puffin Books
Publication date
January 20, 2001
Picture Puffin Books
BISAC categories
JUV012030 - Juvenile Fiction | Fairy Tales & Folklore | General
Library of Congress categories

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