Author: Gerald McDermott
Publisher and Year: Viking Penguin, Inc. (1986)
Number of pages: 28
Genre: Fairy Tale
Descriptive Annotation: Daniel O’Rouke An Irish Tale follows the adventure of Dan one evening. This one evening, Daniel O’Rouke along with the rich and poor attend a lavish party with all the fixings to make for a fun evening. When Dan is leaving the party for the evening he passes by the pooka spirit’s tower and then slips and falls on a bridge. The pooka spirit is a goblin of sorts in Irish fairy tales that causes mischief at night. After falling, Dan is swept up in the river current when he eventually lands on an island. The island features a talking eagle that carries Dan to the moon where he is left because Dan at one point stole from the eagle. When hanging onto the moon, Daniel talks to the man who lives within the moon. Unpleasant words are exchanged, and Daniel is forced to leave. While Daniel is falling, he is swept up by wild geese who carry him until dropping him into the ocean where he is caught by a whale. At this point, Daniel is forced awake by his mother who scolds him for falling asleep next to the pooka tower. The moral of the story basically that bad deeds won’t go unpunished and it is wise to do good in one’s life.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: There are multiple cultural terms like pooka, green cheese, and goose livers. A vocabulary explanation would be necessary for students to understand the cultural aspect of the tale. Without an analysis, this book would be difficult to understand because it requires connecting the terms to the story line. That being said, it could be used on Saint Patrick’s Day to spark an interest in the culture or even an inquiry into the Irish culture.
Interdisciplinary Connections: The central theme is to go out and do good in the world. For this reason, the students would be working with a book that teaches a person lesson along with some social science topics as well.
Other Information: Although the writing itself is easy in this book, the concepts can apply through the fifth grade. While it can be decoded relatively easily, the concepts require a deeper analysis. (As a side note, my mother read this book to my brother’s second grade classroom as a “Mystery Reader”).