Monday 12 February 2018

More Tales of Irish Saints - Alice Curtayne

More Tales of Irish Saints
Alice Curtayne
Brigid Rynne (Illustrator)
The Talbot Press Limited
Eighty-Nine Talbot Street Dublin
First Edition 1957
ISBN 0861670183

I discovered the writings of Alice Curtayne just a few weeks ago. I came across a new reprint edition of Twenty Tales of Irish Saints, and it was a wonderful read. Before I had even finished reading it I started trying to track down other works by Curtayne. I can only find 2 eBooks in print in North America, and a few others available in reprint in the UK. I have even had a very hard time finding used copies of her works for a reasonable price so read this one through an interlibrary loan and currently have them looking for Irish Saints for Boys and Girls, to read next. And I truly wish that many of her other titles would be republished in eBook editions. From what I have been able to determine many of her books were published by The Talbot Press Limited, which closed its doors in November of 2002 after publishing books for 85 years.

My children and I have loved the two books by Curtayne that we have read. This particular book was dedicated to the Gannon children of Boston and the Burke grandchildren of Chicago. It was dedicated to 23 children with a writer's love. And having seen my children's reactions to the stories 61 years after it was first in print; I believe those children would have loved this book also. This book contains 21 short tales about various Irish saints. Some saints appear more than once. 

The chapters in the book are:
Patrick's Rushes
The Robber Who Became a Bishop
Carthage and the Druid
Ciaran's Blackberries
Berach and the Bear
Brendan and the Whale
Why Brendan Hated Music
Columcille and the Flounders
Faelain's Three Wishes
Brigid and the Minstrels
Moling and the Wild Dogs
Moling's Pet Fox
Gall's Disobedience
The Priest and the Bees
Aengus and the Schoolboy
Eugene and the Pirates
Colman and the Swans
Loman, the Saint Who Would Not Lend Books
Macanisius and the Child
Molua and the Scholars
Finbarr's Hazelnuts

There is also a smattering of ink sketches by Brigid Rynne. I have been unable to find out much about the illustrator but the kids and I loved the illustrations. Every story has at least 1 illustration. The copy of this book I could get my hands on did not have a dust jacket, and there is no information about the illustrator in the book. In fact there is no introduction, do about the author, just a brief dedication and immediately into the stories.

And what wonderfully fun stories they are. This book reminded me a lot of Andrew M. Seddon's Saints Alive Volume II - Celtic Paths, but written for a younger audience. I read this book with my children ages 11, 10, and 7. My oldest could read it without difficulty. My middle child needed some help with words, especially names. And my youngest loved listening to the stories, no matter who was reading them to her. 

This is a wonderful book and if I can find a reasonably priced good condition copy I will add it to the family library immediately!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books and Booklets by Alice Curtayne:
A Recall to Dante
Francis Ledwidge: A Life of the Poet
Lough Derg: St. Patrick's Purgatory
Patrick Sarsfield
Saint Anthony of Padua
St. Bernard Doctor of The Church 1933

Books Edited by Alice Curtayne:
The Complete works of Francis Ledwidge

Books Translated by Alice Curtayne:
Labours in the Vineyard by Giovanni Papin

Books Contributed to by Alice Curtayne:

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