K-Gr 3-Fergus and his family immigrate to the U.S. during the potato famine. On his last night home, the boy cuts a branch from his favorite blackthorn tree in order to "take a piece of Ireland with him on his journey across the ocean." During the voyage, he whittles this branch into a shillelagh, and on each St. Patrick's Day, he recounts his family's journey from their homeland to America. After many years, he passes the shillelagh and its story on to his son Declan, who in turn passes it on to his son, Emmet. The heirloom makes its way to succeeding generations until Ryan puts it in a closet when he moves to a new house. Years later, his daughter discovers it and, at her father's urging, takes it to her Grandpa Garrett in order to learn its history. He passes the object on to her, saying, "A good story never has to end as long as someone remembers to keep telling it." Though not as spare and poetic as Patricia Polacco's The Keeping Quilt (S & S, 1988), this account provides just enough historical context for each generation to be interesting. Stahl's realistic, acrylic illustrations adeptly convey the passage of time for this engaging family. A nice introduction to Irish immigration and the concepts of family traditions and heritage.-Piper L. Nyman, Fairfield/Suisun Community Library, Fairfield, CA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
"A nice introduction to Irish immigration and the concepts of family traditions and heritage."
School Library Journal