The Ring of Truth: An Original Irish Tale

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More About This Book

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"Epitomizing the best of Irish storytelling, this blithe debut pokes fun at its own blustery genre," said PW. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like her protagonist, Bateman must have kissed the Blarney Stone "and caught a bit of it in [her] teeth." Epitomizing the best of Irish storytelling, this blithe debut pokes fun at its own blustery genre. En route to a lying contest, the peddler Patrick O'Kelley brags that he "can spout better blarney than the king of leprechauns himself." The incensed king punishes O'Kelley by saddling him with the Ring of Truth-an emerald ring that compels O'Kelley to speak only plain facts. In a splendid twist, the humbled O'Kelley wins the competition by truthfully recounting his trip to the leprechaun's kingdom. Perhaps because Bateman's storytelling is so robust, Rayyan's (Rimonah of the Flashing Sword) light-hued yet florid watercolors feel rather peaked. His compositions are fanciful but can be hard to read: he blurs and hides their details with a uniform (and uninviting) palette. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 2-6A charming read-aloud, particularly for St. Patrick's Day. Patrick O'Kelley is a peddler who never tells the truth when a lie will do. When he boasts of his grand blarney-spouting abilities, the King of the Leprechauns decides to teach him a lesson. He brings Patrick to the land of the Little People and presents him with an emerald ring that forces him to speak only what is true. This causes problems not only for Patrick's gift of gab but for his customers who were used to the peddler's flattering ways and walloping yarns. Eventually he is coerced into performing in the famous Blarney Contest and, of course, he can only tell the truththe account of how the magical Leprechaun king appeared to him in a hall of crystal and gold, arriving on four tiny ponies and gave him the enchanted ring. This outlandish though accurate story is judged the "biggest pack of blarney" ever and the sheepish man actually wins the pot of gold. He has learned his lesson, however, and he continues telling truthful tales of the days he spent with the Leprechauns. Rayyan's wispy pastel watercolor illustrations are peopled with Rackhamesque fairies and realistic characters. There is a fine blend of energy, humor, and magic in the Celtic-bordered pictures. This is a well-crafted tale told with a storyteller's touch; the language flows and the story satisfies.Beth Tegart, Oneida City Schools, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Bateman's first book is a beautifully layered, consistently sprightly take on the notion that truth is stranger than fiction.

Itinerant peddler Patrick O'Kelley habitually tells magnificent lies, blarneying his gullible customers into purchasing scarves and trinkets. When he hears of a blarney contest in County Donegal, he sets his cap for the prize of a pot of gold, boasting that he "can spout better blarney than the king of the leprechauns himself." The king's mountain has ears (proof is in one of Rayyan's witty complementary illustrations), and the king decides to teach Patrick a lesson. In the throne room to which Patrick has been summoned, the king bestows upon Patrick a Ring of Truth; the wearer cannot lie while it is on his finger, and cannot remove it. Without his sales pitch, Patrick loses business, for "people . . . were now sore disappointed" in Patrick, and they run the hapless peddler out of town after town. All is not lost—when Patrick tells the amazing truth of why he no longer qualifies for the competition, the people believe his story to be the biggest blarney of all, awarding him the gold. Through the "fair folk," Patrick is provided with further truthful material for his tales, never believed by listeners in the grosser world. It's a reality that creates a larger, ironical wrapping for this tale; fanciful illustrations take off from a Renaissance base to provide yet another twist on the central theme. A cohesive, enchanting book.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823415182
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/28/1999
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.95 (w) x 8.39 (h) x 0.15 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 7, 2009

    First rate story, Excellent artwork

    I read this to my kids and was laughing myself. The professional reviewer didn't care for the artwork. I'm an artist myself and realize the technical aspects of illustration have become formulaic. I found it refreshing to see these extremely well rendered whimsical watercolours. Some of my favourite books from childhood were of this ilk. I'm old enough to remember books of a less practical, structured formula. The illustrations' colour scheme does convey a mood effectively which was likely lost on the aforementioned reviewer. The mood made me nostalgic for an Ireland I remember fondly. I've nothing to do with the artist personally, but I enjoyed their work enough to feel the sting of such criticism.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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