Little (Grrl) Lost , by Charles De Lint T.J. has recently moved to the suburbs after having spent her whole life on a farm. While she understands the move wasn’t her parents’ choice – they lost a lot of money in the stock market - she still feels desolate at having to leave her beloved horse behind. Her older brother seems to have weathered the transition well; he’s finally found some friends to play in a band with, but T.J. feels like a country bumpkin, a total outsider. At night she’s been hearing odd sounds in the walls, a scritch, scritch sort of sound. But whenever she turns on the lights to see what’s happening, the sounds stop. Sometimes it seems she can actually hear voices, so when a little door in the wall suddenly opens one night, and a very little person steps out into her room, she’s surprised – but not too surprised. The tiny little person is Elizabeth, T.J. discovers: a Little. (As in The Littles and The Borrowers ). T.J. is sick and tired of hiding in the walls, living afraid, never going out, not knowing anyone her own age, and always having to follow her parents’ long list of rules. She is leaving home, going on an adventure, and she can take care of herself. T.J. is dressed in punkish clothes which she has fashioned for herself, and she has a very big attitude. One of the most important rules is to always hide their existence from big people, and Elizabeth appears pleased to have broken it so successfully. The novel is told in alternating viewpoints, first from T.J.’s, then from Elizabeth’s point of view. When Elizabeth’s adventure doesn’t go very well and T.J. discovers her living in the garden shed, cold, alone and afraid (not that she’d admit it), the girls team up to find out how Elizabeth can find other Littles – she can’t go back home, because her parents left in a fright after Elizabeth spoke about them to T.J. Their search turns into an adventure that takes both friends far from home, way out of their comfort zones, and teaches them more about the world – and themselves – than they ever imagined possible.
Book Talks: Mrs. Frere 3/10 Ireland NOTE: Click on media files to play.
Little (Grrl) LOST by Charles De Lint Note: This doesn’t take place in Ireland, but as it concerns the “little people”, I thought it was appropriate. Book Talk
Airman By Eoin Colfer Airman takes place in the early 1800’s on Little Saltee Island off the coast of Ireland.
True Irish Ghost Stories by St. John D. Seymour and Harry L. Neligan
Ireland is known for its ghosts. Probably the most haunted place in Ireland is Leap Castle. While accounts from the castle are not included in “True Irish Ghost Stories”, learning about them should warm you up for the scary tales that are included. Located in Northern Ireland this castle has been the site of many strange happenings. Built in about 1250, the castle’s purpose was to guard the pass from Slieve Bloom to Munster. Its history is riddled with tales of battles, torture and horror.
One of the most disturbing things about this castle was the discovery of an oubliette. A pit with a large spike at the bottom. Prisoners who were cast into the pit were either impaled on the spike or left to starve at the bottom. When workmen began clearing the pit is took three carts to remove all the human bones within the chamber. One of the spirits or entities that is rumored to roam these halls has terrified owners for centuries. It is said to be a small creature with strange eyes and a rotting smell. Locals have seen strange lights coming from the empty castle for years. Now under restoration the new family claims to have experienced a number of strange happenings as well.
Video from Leap Castle with Ghosthunters. The bearded gentleman is the current owner of the castle. Read more about Irish spirits in True Irish Ghost Stories!
The title of this book is taken from an Irish reel with the same name. You can listen to the reel performed by a musician with an Irish flute below.
<ul><li>Do you know these Irish words taken from the glossary of The New Policeman? </li></ul><ul><li>Rath </li></ul><ul><li>Fairy fort or ring. </li></ul><ul><li>Souterrain </li></ul><ul><li>An underground chamber or series of chambers, commonly found in Irish ring forts. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Tir na n’Og (teer na nogue) </li></ul><ul><li>The Land of Eternal Youth </li></ul><ul><li>Puka (pooka) </li></ul><ul><li>A mythical creature that appears in the form of a goat. </li></ul><ul><li>Merrows </li></ul><ul><li>Merpeople </li></ul>
<ul><li>The Humming of Numbers is a work of historical fiction taking place in tenth century Ireland. This intriguing book involves monks, witches, Vikings, the art of illuminated manuscripts, synesthesia, and love. Before previewing it, some background information on some of these topics will be helpful. </li></ul><ul><li>Early Irish Monasteries . </li></ul><ul><li>Commonly, monasteries were founded on well-populated areas of good land or near important routes. The more strategically located of these eventually developed large dependent lay communities of monastic tenants, servants, and craft workers. In the absence of a centralized authority, these large monasteries became powerful urban centers of population, learning, trade, and craftsmanship, as well as of religion. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Illuminated Texts . </li></ul><ul><li>In addition to living hard lives according to strict rules, Irish Monks were also responsible for creating Illuminated Religious Texts, such as the most famous work of its kind, The Book of Kells. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Synesthesia . </li></ul><ul><li>A condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another, as when the hearing of a sound produces the visualization of a color. </li></ul>The Humming of Numbers Book Talk Life in a tenth-century Celtic abbey isn’t terribly exciting most days. Still, Aidan is ready to take his monastic vows, knowing this will bring him closer to his dream of painting illuminated texts. Then a new person enters the abbey and Aidan’s world is turned upside down. Not only is Lana a girl– and a beautiful one at that– but she hums of the number eleven. Aidan has the ability to hear the humming of numbers, a buzzing energy given off by living things. Until now, he’s never met a person with a number higher than ten. Aidan is transfixed by the mysterious girl, and tormented. How can he become a monk when his mind is filled with impure thoughts? Before he can begin to sort out his feelings, the Vikings raid. Only Aidan and Lana can save the village from certain, violent death– and only if they learn to trust themselves. (From the inside jacket cover.)
Benny and Babe takes place in the fictional town of Duncade, which is modeled after the real town of Slade on the south eastern coast of Ireland. Benny has come to Slade to stay with his Grandfather for the summer. His grandfather is the caretaker of, and lives in, the local lighthouse. Book Talk
Benny is a serious hurler from the city, who initially looks down on local rural kids, calling them “culchies”. Hurling is best compared to lacrosse. Hurling is an outdoor ball-and-stick game played with fifteen players on a field larger than a soccer pitch. Whereas lacrosse is played with netted sticks, hurling is a played with a flat wooden club, and the ball is struck by swinging the stick vice flinging it as in lacrosse. Hurling players can catch and carry the ball in the hand, but can only pass it by hitting it with the stick, kicking it, or slapping it by the hand. Hurling is a tough game and Benny is surprised when he is taken down in a local game by none other
than a dog! (Yes, these culchies actually let a dog play in their game!) What’s worse is that the dog belongs to a tomboyish girl named “Babe” who makes fun of him! Benny and Babe become unlikely partners in a business enterprise that initially goes well. And their relationship is seeming to slowly change from consisting largely of insulting each other back and forth to something more friendly. Then one day, Benny tells the story of “The Black Chicken”. “ You see that big cave down there [known as the Black Chan]? That was like the party cave, ages ago when me Granda was only a sprog. Whenever some big boat ran aground, all the illegal booze would be brought in there for a big party. There were steps cut out of the rock and everything. So one night most of the village was down there all drunk as lords. Me Granda says even he was plastered, and he was only eight at the time. Only been smoking a few years then, too. Anyway, there they were, Irish dancing away. Real Irish dancing too. None of your waving yer arms about or anything. When this black chicken arrives into the cave and starts crowing away. Now, as everybody knows, a black chicken is very bad luck. Granda’s ma, my great grandma, grabbed her family and skedaddled up the steps. She was real superstitious. Had a thing about black chickens. But the rest of them ignored the chicken’s warning and broke open another bottle of wine. Five minutes later, a freak wave swept in and flooded the
cave. Twenty-seven people drowned. Whoever escaped the wave was pulled down by the whirlpool.” That sounds like a pretty silly story (and Benny’s Granda is known for telling some whoppers), but it actually foreshadows the extreme danger that Benny and Babe will face in the Black Chan later in the book due to a whacky business plan gone way wrong. What happens to Benny and Babe? To find out, you have to read the book!