Most people don’t realize that modern day Halloween is derived from an ancient Irish festival that was brought over to the United States by Irish immigrants. Emer Martin’s new book is a modern take on an ancient Irish folktale, launching just in time for Halloween. From the old Irish ‘Puca, which means ‘goblin’, a Pooka is a shape-shifter and can take any form it chooses but usually it is seen in the form of a dog, rabbit, goat, goblin or even an old man. Traditionally a Pooka is seen as a dark, sleek horse with a long wild flowing mane and luminescent golden eyes. The central character in Pooka is Orla, a troubled young girl who often creates her own problems. When the mysterious, playful Pooka takes her on a wild ride up to the moon where she meets an even more-troubled witch, they all need to learn the art of cooperation so they can safely make it back to earth.
"My five year old and I loved this. Martin's tale has two strong female characters that show thoughtfulness and growth over the course of the story. It's rare to read a children's story in which the females are the "trouble-makers" who then also thoughtfully solve the problems that result from their strong-willed decisions. I wish there were more characters like this is the literature I read to my daughter. The fantastical and powerful Pooka is a delightful flying horse, and the illustrations make her and the others come to life. The verse makes it easy to read many times over to elementary aged kids."
"Beautifully written story, my 7 year old little girl loved the story of the Pooka and the history of Halloween! I have to say I loved it too and the gorgeous illustrations added to the magic of this lovely book.
"My little brothers loved this book when I read it to them as a bed time story. The book features witty rhymes, beautiful diction, colorful pictures and the full story behind halloween. Would most definitely recommend it to anyone of any age."
About the Authors
Emer Martin is a Dubliner who has lived in Paris, London, and the Middle East and in many places in the United States. She fled Ireland at age 17, finding it to be insular and oppressive, and began to wander through Europe. She was exhilarated and relieved to find herself alone in Paris drifting from cinema to cinema and finally discovering a tribe of wanderers, dreamers, refugees, and hustlers on the slopes of the Pompidou Centre. Her first novel, based on her travels was Breakfast in Babylon, described the life of a young Irishwoman in the Parisian underworld and won Book of the Year at the 1996 Listowel Writers' Week. More »