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Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure Paperback – 1 Feb 2002
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About the Author
ROBERT D. SAN SOUCI is the critically acclaimed author of many popular books for young people. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sally Wern Comport has illustrated numerous picture books and novels, including Love Will See You Through: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Six Guiding Beliefs; Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure; Hanging Off Jefferson’s Nose: Growing Up on Mt. Rushmore; and the Spy Mice series. She has also translated her picture making skills to various large scale public, private, and institutional artworks. Sally lives with her husband and two daughters in Annapolis, Maryland, where she operates Art at Large Inc. Learn more at ArtAtLargeInc.com.
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This Irish folktale features Margaret, a beautiful maiden who lives on a farm on the Irish coast, who's life was changed forever when a man (the captain of a ship and a King of the East) comes to her farm and asks for supplies for his voyage. Margaret who's yearning for a life of adventure agrees, on the condition that she is taken on the ship's journey, to which the King agrees. She works on the ship like the rest of the men, and she proves herself as strong and courageous. As the story progresses, Margaret repeatedly shows her strength and fearless nature, culminating in a fantastic battle with a mythical beast that Margaret must win in order to free herself from the magical curse a strange old woman and save her beloved King (who, if you couldn't figure out, she'd taken a fancy to). Margaret beautifully embodies a beautiful, feminine woman who also can stand up for herself and those she loves.
While this is a children's book, I'd say it's not for young children, not because of the content, but because there is a fair amount of reading in this book. I don't think, for example, my preschool class could sit through this without getting squirmy. However, for those children who love stories or have the ability to sit and listen for a longer story, they're going to love this book. The girls in the class may especially enjoy the unique twist that the King needs saving by a beautiful woman, not a beautiful woman needs to be saved by a King. The girls in our Kindergarten class loved reenacting this story, and it has quickly become a big favorite.
One thing I thing this book offers that I don't think gets enough praise is the spectacular illustrations. This book has, hands down, some of the best illustrations I've ever seen in a children's book. There are some pictures which quite literally glow. One picture in particular (the picture of Margaret on her knees, weeping) caught my breath. The pictures are vivid, hypnotic, and really capture the feeling of faraway lands, mythical beasts, and perfectly capture the mesmerizing beauty of Margaret and her incredible strength. It's not often I find books that visually portray beautiful women not as "girly-girls" but strong, courageous, and very real, without sacrificing her femininity. And I'm sorry, this gal has the most gorgeous hair (though being a bottle redhead, maybe I'm a teensy bit biased... But it's honestly nice to see a non-blonde female heroine/ lead).
The pictures in this book are so beautiful that the story could have been garbage and I'd still have bought it. The illustrations are just that amazing.
This book is wonderful for so many reasons. Beautiful pictures, strong female character, breaking of the typical fairytale/folk tale stereotype of women who need saving from their knight... This book is a can't miss.
Heck, I bought it and I don't even have kids and my husband, who doesn't read children's books, asked this to be a coffee table book so he could see the illustrations. :)