Webb and McCarthy present 69 nursery rhymes, poems, songs, and verses in a humorously illustrated read-aloud anthology.
The subtitle is meant literally, as the anthologist is Irish, rather than as a promise of all-Irish content. Many familiar and not iconically Irish rhymes, such as “She’ll Be Coming ’round the Mountain” and “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,” are here, as well as Irish staples like “The Lake Isle of Innisfree.” Many of the verses selected are anonymous, but in addition to William Butler Yeats, such Irish notables as James Joyce and Padraic Colum are included. Non-Irish poets of renown also appear, with Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Happy Thought” and Edward Lear’s “The Owl and the Pussycat,” among others. Although Webb’s introduction alludes to research that yields Irish connections, she provides little expatiation beyond informing readers that Irish-born labor organizer Mother Jones may have been that woman coming around that mountain. One verse per page is the norm, although on occasion a second complementing verse or one-liner is added. For example, Oscar Wilde’s “Symphony in Yellow,” about a yellow omnibus crawling across a bridge like a yellow butterfly, shares a page with the quip “What is a butterfly? At best, he’s but a caterpillar dressed.” Digitally composed illustrations featuring cartoonishly quirky animal and human characters (racially diverse) in muted, opaque colors decorate the book.
While the Irish connections are often opaque, repeated recitations are a must. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)