Harp O' Gold: An Original Tale

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More About This Book

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
There's a wee bit o' Irish magic in this original tale about how people can become blinded by appearances. As a boy, Tom had always dreamed of being a minstrel. He achieved his goal of becoming a talented harp player but did not acquire the riches he had envisioned. While despairing over his lot, Tom receives a visit from a leprechaun who offers him a harp made of gold, and Tom gains entry to the finest homes. But while the golden harp lives up to its promise money-wise, its tinny, false sound bothers the music lover in Tom. And when the king so admires the harp that he imprisons Tom as his personal musician, the hero knows things have gone too far. Young readers will quickly pick up on the simple but resonant messages be true to one's self; the grass isn't always greener on the other side woven into Bateman's (Leprechaun Gold) pleasantly paced text. Weber's (The Christmas Tree) vibrant acrylic and watercolor compositions suggest a hint of Petra Mathers and Giselle Potter playful in tone, starring plucky animal figures and rubbery-limbed characters with expressive facial features. Children will enjoy a humorous leitmotif that plays throughout, too the golden harp is not music to the animals' ears. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Have you ever heard someone say, "Be careful what you wish, because you just might get it?" The hero of this cautionary fairy tale finds out how true this bit of old folk wisdom is. Tom is a wandering Irish minstrel who plucks beautiful music from his travel-worn harp. His audiences applaud and dance with joy to his tunes, but unfortunately have little money to spare. They can afford only to pay Tom with home-cooked meals, modest lodging and heartfelt kindness. After years of barely scraping by, Tom complains to the sky that the life of a minstrel had not been as he hoped it would be. His dream had been to play for the rich and powerful of the land. He imagined that they in return would fill his cap with pieces of gold. At that very moment, Sean O'Dell mysteriously appears out of nowhere. The odd little man offers Tom a shining harp of gold, along with the chance to latch onto the life of his dreams. Tom trades in his old harp for the new. But how will Tom cope with the unexpected results of his choice? The charming acrylic paintings that grace the pages help bring a touch of humor to the rather somber text. Readers of any age will find a well-told tale and a thought-provoking message between the covers of this picture book. 2001, Holiday House, $16.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Dianne Ochiltree
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-A satisfying and well-crafted story of dreams and desires, told in a folktale style. Tom has always dreamed of being a rich and successful minstrel, playing his music for the wealthy. Instead, he has an old harp and plays for folks who can only pay him with flour or apples. When Sean O'Dell, "a man of very short stature," appears, Tom agrees to swap his old harp for a beautiful golden one that has a "rather tinny, metallic sound." A lesson about true riches and heart's desires is then learned. The whimsical illustrations use plenty of Irish green with arches and rolling lines to harmonize with the text. Weber has included comical animal antics as illustrative details for children to enjoy. An especially fine contribution to St. Patrick's Day collections, this story will be enjoyed throughout the year, reminding children to follow their dreams and be careful what they wish for. A finely tuned tale.-Helen Foster James, University of California at San Diego Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823415236
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.30 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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