Kathleen: The Celtic Knot, SiobhÃ¡n Parkinson (Girls of Many Lands series)
So I picked this book up when I was making a St. Patrickâ€™s Day display. I never read this seriesâ€”or knew that it existed, actuallyâ€”but it has a lot of the same charms of the original American Girl books. Kathleen is spunky, clever, and resourceful, taking care of her younger siblings and learning Irish dance in a Dublin tenement circa 1930-something. Itâ€™s a gentle, uplifting story, but thereâ€™s enough grittiness in Kathleenâ€™s surroundings to stop the book from getting too syrupy. Towards the end, the plot weirdly echoes that of the Christmas Felicity book, but that might be a coincidence.
I appreciate that this book doesnâ€™t try too hard to cater to its American audience. As a result, there are some references here that will be lost on the bookâ€™s target demographicâ€”letâ€™s face it, Iâ€™m better versed in Irish history than the average ten-year-oldâ€”but ideally, this is the kind of book thatâ€™ll encourage those kids to go and learn more. And I love how very Irish the book isâ€”the writing and the dialogue are spot-on (at least, they sound just like twenty-first century Irish people; I obviously havenâ€™t got a clue how people spoke in the 1930s, but at least they donâ€™t sound American).
In short: Sweet, wholesome, educationalâ€”what youâ€™d expect from an American Girl book.
Read it if you like: Irish culture and history; the other books in the series