The Island of Horses

The Island of Horses

by Eilis Dillon
     
 

Chosen by the Sunday Times (London) as one of its 99 Best Books for Children

The people of remote Inishrone, a few miles off the Connemara coast, know better than to go to the Island of Horses. Everyone has heard tales of men who have gone there and never come back. Yet one day young Pat Conroy and his friend Danny MacDonagh head off anyway, telling their parents

Overview

Chosen by the Sunday Times (London) as one of its 99 Best Books for Children

The people of remote Inishrone, a few miles off the Connemara coast, know better than to go to the Island of Horses. Everyone has heard tales of men who have gone there and never come back. Yet one day young Pat Conroy and his friend Danny MacDonagh head off anyway, telling their parents that they are fishing for eels. On the island they find no ghosts but many mysteries, including a beautiful—and tame—black colt. But when they return home, with the colt in tow, they find themselves launched into a world of trouble. Before their adventure is over, the boys must brave rough seas and the murderous duplicity of a conniving horse trader, with only the advice of Pat's frail grandmother and their own good sense to guide them.

A loving, clear-eyed portrait of rural Irish life, The Island of Horses is fraught with suspense and peopled with unforgettable individuals.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Eilís Dillon weaves a magic Irish spell and an A-1 mystery-adventure story, taut with action and suspense…The tale sparkles with the atmosphere of the sea and of small-town life."
The New York Times Book Review

"A very good story about two boys who set out to explore a deserted island off the Connemara coast, and about the adventures that follow. The people are real, the Irish background rings true, and there is a hard, spare poetry in the telling of the story."
The Guardian

Children's Literature - Jeannine Stickle
Fifteen-year-old Danny MacDonagh and his best friend Pat Conroy find adventure, excitement, and mystery after a visit to an island near their home in rural Ireland in this classic children's adventure novel. Pat and Danny have always longed to visit the Island of Horses, where Pat's family once lived until it became uninhabitable. When the two visit the island on a fishing trip, they discover that it is populated by beautiful horses and they decide to bring a black colt home with them, but know that they must keep their find secret so that the island is not overrun by people snatching up the horses. They plan to give the colt to Pat's old brother, John, so that he can give him as a gift to Stephen Costelloe, his fiance's father, which will enable John and Barbara to marry. When Mike Coffey, the greedy local peddler, guesses their secret, he becomes determined to make a profit out of it somehow, and plans to eliminate the boys as competition. In the end, the boys and a cast of colorful characters thwart Mike's plans, and the marriage between John and Barbara promises to restore some harmony between the islanders and the mainlanders and improve life for everyone. The New York Review of Books edition of this exciting and suspenseful adventure mystery is beautiful, with a striking yellow, black, and blue cover drawing by Richard Kennedy and an elegant red spine. This book is recommended for male and female readers who enjoy adventure and mystery stories, and readers in rural areas may find it especially easy to relate to the setting. Reviewer: Jeannine Stickle

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590171028
Publisher:
New York Review Books
Publication date:
05/10/2004
Series:
New York Review Children's Collection Series
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Eilís Dillon (1920-1994) wrote more than thirty books for young people, as well as fiction for adults, including the best-selling historical novel Across the Bitter Sea, about the struggle for Irish independence in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. With few exceptions, her young people’s books are set in the west of Ireland, in small communities struggling to make a living on the islands and along the Atlantic coast. As the critic Declan Kiberd wrote in Dillon’s obituary: “What Laura Ingalls Wilder did for children’s literature in the US, she achieved in Ireland, imparting a sure historical sense in books such as The Singing Cave. That interest in history was a natural expression of her curiosity of mind, and of her family inheritance."

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