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Mrs. McCool and the Giant Cuhullin: An Irish…

Mrs. McCool and the Giant Cuhullin: An Irish Tale

by Jessica Souhami

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  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
Illustrated with Jessica Souhami's trademark cut-paper collage artwork, this picture book offers a colorful retelling of an Irish folktale concerning Finn McCool, his clever wife Oona, and the fearsome giant, Cuhullin...

Based upon a tale found in Joseph Jacobs' 1892 collection, itself inspired by a version recorded by William Carleton in 1846, this folktale brings together two of the most well-known figures of Irish mythology: CĂșchulainn, the hero of the Ulster Cycle of tales, and Fionn mac Cumhaill, the hero of the Fenian Cycle of tales. These are not comic heroes originally, but as Souhami notes in her afterword, this type of tale, which dates to the sixteenth century, is meant to offer a comic parody of the classic stories...

All in all, Souhami's book is an enjoyable retelling, although I think I prefer Robert Byrd's Finn Maccoul and His Fearless Wife, which contains the same tale. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jun 26, 2013 |
Cuhullin was a giant who had a magic finger. He had fought all the giants and squashed them flat except one, Finn McCool. Finn McCool had a magic thumb and when he sucked his thumb, he could see the future. Finn McCool was hiding from Cuhullin and asked his wife for help to hide. The wife hid him in a baby carriage and when Cuhullin arrived, she said that he must be quiet and not wake the baby. She asked Cuhllin to do a small jobs around the house for her. The wife continued to trick him. I've never heard of this story but I found it very funny. I love how creative the wife was when trying to get rid of Cuhullin. I
found the story to be a lot more entertaining then what the pictures showed. ( )
1 vote achatela | Apr 2, 2013 |
With a rollicking narrative, Mrs. McCool and the Giant Cuhullin: An Irish Tale would be perfect for a read-aloud (I could imagine this being an entertaining and popular story-time selection at a public library). It is a fun tale, quite theatrical, and Oona's cleverness is both enchanting and empowering. For me, the text also demonstrates author/illustrator Jessica Souhami's background as a member of a traveling puppet show; it almost seems as though an oral storyteller is right there on the page. As to the illustrations, although the collages are bright and colourful, they are not all that much to my taste. While I think that the illustrations are expressive and work well enough with the narrative, I find some of them a bit too in-your-face, and most of the depictions of Cuhullin are rather uncanny, especially his overly large teeth.

The informative author's note is excellent, although the academic in me would have preferred to have had a separate bibliography, with the actual titles of especially William Carleton's and Joespeh Jacobs' versions/books presented. Short, but to the point, the author's note seems to include all or at least most needed background information (that the traditional Irish heroes Cuhullin and Finn McCool could, in fact, never have met, that this tale is a parody, and likely originally from the 16th century, that Mrs. McCool and the Giant Cuhullin: An Irish Tale is a loose adaptation of William Carleton's and Jospeh Jacobs' versions of the tale). ( )
  gundulabaehre | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 080506852X, Hardcover)

A hilarious Irish folktale with a terrific female heroine.

"Long ago, there lived a giant called Cuhullin.
My, but he was big and fierce and strong.
And what made him so strong?
He had a magic finger. And believe it or not,
all his strength was in that little finger.
Now Cuhullin had fought all the other giants,
and squashed them flat. Well, all but one,
and that was Finn McCool."

But Finn doesn't want to fight. Finn is SCARED.

When he sucks his magic thumb, Finn can see Cuhullin coming to get him. So he runs straight home to his wife, Oona.

Oona isn't scared, not one bit. She just laughs . . .

Will Cuhullin find Finn McCool and SQUASH HIM FLAT?

Or will Oona save the day?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:50 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The very clever Oona saves her husband, the giant Finn McCool, by outwitting Cuhullin, who seeks to prove that he is the strongest giant in the world by beating Finn.

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