THE TRAVELING MEN OF BALLYCOO by Eve Bunting

THE TRAVELING MEN OF BALLYCOO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The title and the cover, with the three unglamorous traveling men jigging and waving merrily in a meadow, tell you what to expect from Bunting's brogue-laden tale of the three musicians--Cathal wailing out "The Hunt" on a penny whistle, Sean "bent near in two" over his fiddle, and Young Jimmy playing the melodeon--who travel about, calling all Ireland home, and never stop to marry. "Didn't they have all they needed in each other, with their music to share and a royal welcome wherever they went?" But the years go by without a notice and finally, when even Young Jimmy is close to 70, the three retire to their cottage in Ballycoo, settling in well and playing their music at night. "But there was something wanting"--and no sooner does Cathal recognize what they need--an audience to share the music--than up goes a welcome sign on the door that draws all the neighbors in for a nightly party at home. And "Don't we still go places every night of our lives," asks Cathal, referring to the illusions conjured up by their music. Fair enough, and sufficiently well turned, with Zemach's dancing, gesturing figures and floating musical notes sustaining the lilt--but there's a bit of a tired, machine-made air to the story, and the pictures too seem simply to be supplying what's called for.
Pub Date: April 29th, 1983
ISBN: 0153329785
Page count: 36pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1983




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