David K. McDonnell
Burrowing Owl Press (2018)
ISBN 9780986038518
Reviewed By Susan Violante for Reader Views (2/19)

“Buy The Horse A Guinness: & Other Wee Tales of Ireland” by David K. McDonnell is a collection of narrated short Irish stories as the author usually performs them live. McDonnell’s storytelling talent is a Celtic tradition from ancient time, an art form he has honored performing all over the United States and Ireland.

Each story is presented as a vignette with colorful illustrations and a postscript giving readers a behind-the-scene look at how the story came to be. At the end of the page the author also included a pronunciation box for Celtic words used in the story. The book format is very easy to read with big fonts and lots of color. Each story is unique with colorful characters and picturesque settings. The storytelling voice of the author is as colorful as the illustrations, transporting the reader to an Irish pub. I could see the author in my mind performing, that is how vivid his voice resonated as I read on. I also believe that McDonnell found a great match in Rob Wilkinson, as his illustrations compliment the stories’ imagery perfectly.

I think McDonnell took on a big risk putting this type of live-performance art form in writing, and it paid off! His writing skills are as good as his storytelling voice, making each story come alive in the reader’s mind. His witty paragraphs made me laugh out loud in many instances, such as the one I quote below from his story titled ‘The Annual Killing Of A Barber’:

‘…To insult Loughra forever, Cova forced Loughra to eat the heart of his grandfather, Leary.

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And to eat the heart of his father, Alill.

And to eat a live mouse.

It is not at all obvious which of these things was the most disgusting to Loughra.

Cova exiled Loughra and Loughra’s mother and they both moved to Brittany in France. Certainly,

Loughra much preferred the French cuisine…’

I could not pick favorites as I enjoyed the entire collection very much, but to name a few: ‘Irish Zombies,’ ‘The Connemara Fishermen,’ and ‘Lochlann the Leprechaun’ come to mind.  Overall, I found “Buy the Horse a Guinness: & Other Wee Tales of Ireland” by David K. McDonnell to be a Five-Star read and a fun experience. So, grab a Guinness and enjoy the ride through Ireland with the entertaining tales of McDonnell! I recommend!