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Fergus and the Night-Demon
     

Fergus and the Night-Demon

by John Manders
 

Acclaimed nonfiction author Jim Murphy now turns his hand to spinning yarns. Fergus O’Mara, a resourceful Irish lad, is especially clever at avoiding work. On his way to an evening of fun, he encounters the dreaded Night-Demon. Fergus keeps on walking, but this demon means business, and our hero will have to work hard to get himself out of a

Overview


Acclaimed nonfiction author Jim Murphy now turns his hand to spinning yarns. Fergus O’Mara, a resourceful Irish lad, is especially clever at avoiding work. On his way to an evening of fun, he encounters the dreaded Night-Demon. Fergus keeps on walking, but this demon means business, and our hero will have to work hard to get himself out of a “grave” situation.

With haunting humor and high spirits, Jim Murphy and John Manders have created a suspenseful tale that’s scary enough for a Halloween read-aloud and funny enough to be enjoyed at any time. Author’s note.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Murphy turns his honed nonfiction hand to spinning folklore...just the right jaunty exaggeration and haunting humor." Kirkus Reviews

"Murphy's tale is pleasingly full of blarney, and Manders' comic illustrations offset the meance of the night-demon." Booklist, ALA

"Children will appreciate this humorous ghost story; it makes a good read-aloud choice." School Library Journal

"An original tale in which a...lad from the Emerald Isle uses wit...to wiggle out of a spooky scrape." Publishers Weekly

"The tale's a lively one, with clever Fergus repeatedly besting the monster, and it's a good choice for reading aloud." Horn Book Guide

Work shirker Fergus O'Mara is always ready for a bit of fun. Adept at avoiding unpleasant things, he successfully challenges the admonishments of a dreaded Night-Demon three times, but eventually the frightening message of the visitor sinks in. Slightly scary; beautifully drawn; ultimately rewarding.
Publishers Weekly
Paying homage to the traditions of Irish folklore, Murphy (The Great Fire) crafts an original tale in which a lazy lad from the Emerald Isle uses wit and words to wiggle out of a spooky scrape. Fergus loves his life as a ne'er-do-well, always ready for "a bit of play," and always ready with an excuse for not helping his mother around the cottage and the farm. But one evening's jaunt to Skibbereen is interrupted by a giant ghostly creature seeking to send Fergus O'Mara to his grave. Blarney serves Fergus well, and the bit o'fear he felt changes his attitude at home. Manders's (Quiet Night) gouache and colored pencil illustrations harness an entertaining mix of humor and suspense, sprinkled with clever details such as Fergus's sweater and cap, and the family's thatched-roof dwelling. He pictures the Night-Demon as a dark, towering mass of tattered rags, sharp teeth and glowing red eyes that young readers won't soon forget. An author's note on the story's influences is included. Ages 6-9. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-A slightly scary, always amusing story about a "lazy, good-for-nothing lad" named Fergus O'Mara who offers only excuses when his mother asks him to do some chores. Then he blithely saunters off to town "for a bit of play." Gouache and colored-pencil illustrations skillfully reveal his jaunty demeanor; his remarkably flexible body exudes action and attitude. Suddenly, he encounters a hooded Night-Demon with a lethal-looking scythe who declares, "It is your time, Fergus O'Mara!" The lad is only briefly frightened before he dismisses him as a bad dream. Soon, Fergus meets the demon again; now it looms over him and its red glowing eyes are revealed. Increasingly dramatic images, served up in shades of green, blue, and brown, convey the rising tension in the story. Amusingly, when told to dig his own grave, Fergus seems more concerned that he "be rid of this hard work" than frightened of his predicament. However, after he outwits the demon, he unexpectedly resolves to "be the hardest working lad hereabouts." This sudden repentance appears to happen because he fears that the demon will come looking for him again. Children will appreciate this humorous ghost story; it makes a good read-aloud choice.-Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Murphy turns his honed nonfiction hand to spinning folklore. Fergus O'Mara is good at many things, especially avoiding hard work. Every time his mother asks him to help, fetching peat or milking the cow, he has an excuse. One night, as he skips off to Skibbereen to play, he meets up with a horrible cloaked giant with fiery eyes, holding a scythe, who hisses, "It is your time, Fergus O'Mara!" Quivering and quaking, Fergus outsmarts the creature three times by calling the monster an apparition caused by garlic sausage, onion pie and stew that he's eaten. When the Night-Demon shows him a headstone that reads, "Here Lies Fergus O'Mara, A Lazy Good for Nothing Lad," Fergus tells him the lazy Fergus he's after lives some 20 miles off. But from then on, Fergus is the hardest working lad thereabouts. Manders's illustrations of gouache and colored pencil embellish the tale with just the right jaunty exaggeration and haunting humor, especially the looming perspectives of the Night-Demon as it grows larger each time, towering over Fergus. A lengthy author's note explains how he blended elements of Irish folklore to craft this spooky yarn. (Folktale. 5-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618339556
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
09/18/2006
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.75(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.12(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Murphy turns his honed nonfiction hand to spinning folklore...just the right jaunty exaggeration and haunting humor." Kirkus Reviews

"Murphy's tale is pleasingly full of blarney, and Manders' comic illustrations offset the meance of the night-demon." Booklist, ALA

"Children will appreciate this humorous ghost story; it makes a good read-aloud choice." School Library Journal

"An original tale in which a...lad from the Emerald Isle uses wit...to wiggle out of a spooky scrape." Publishers Weekly

"The tale's a lively one, with clever Fergus repeatedly besting the monster, and it's a good choice for reading aloud." Horn Book Guide

Meet the Author


JOHN MANDERS has illustrated more than a dozen award-winning books for children, including Humphrey, Albert, and the Flying Machine by Kathryn Lasky. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You can visit his website at www.johnmanders.com.

Jim Murphy's nonfiction books have received numerous awards, among them the Sibert Medal, three Orbis Pictus awards, the Margaret A. Edwards award, and two Newbery Honors. Jim also was a finalist for the National Book Award. Born and raised in New Jersey, Jim lives in Maplewood, NJ, with his family.

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