Books by Brian Gleeson

FINN McCOUL by Brian Gleeson
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

Out of the third century a.d. comes Finn McCoul (a.k.a. Finn MacCumhaill to Celtic folklore purists), the gentle giant of Belfast, and his crafty wife, Oonagh. The only blot on Finn's landscape is Cucullin, a giant bully who wishes to give Finn a good pulping. Oonagh devises a scheme that both saves Finn from the drubbing and takes all the stuffing out of Cucullin. Gleeson (Koi and the Kola Nuts, 1992, etc.) brings polished, sprightly writing and an amusing dash of contemporary corn to this adaptation of the ancient Irish tale. De Seve's illustrations provide a felicitous match; he is technically sharp, a painter who brings enticing tension by playing the heroic off the mock-heroic, the romantic off the mock-romantic. His rendering of Cucullin is wonderful, like something Da Vinci might have envisioned in a bad dream. This collaboration is uproarious, a brain-fevered interpretation that's also smart as a whip. (Picture book/folklore. 8+) Read full book review >
KOI AND THE KOLA NUTS by Brian Gleeson
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

When Koi gets only a kola tree as his inheritance, he leaves his village to look for one where a chief's son will be treated with more respect. Along the way, he generously gives away his kola nuts to creatures in trouble—python, ant, crocodile; when the people of his new village prepare to eat rather than honor him and he bargains for his life, the three animals help him complete the difficult tasks he's given. The formula is tried and true; this (unsourced) African version is well paced, eventful, and spiced with colorful details, excellent for sharing aloud. Ruffins's subtly expressive art is rendered in a flat, childlike style with pleasingly gentle colors and faces and figures that recall African art. Also available with a cassette, narrated by Whoppi Goldberg. (Folklore/Picture book. 4-10) Read full book review >