Review: Kathleen: The Celtic Knot, by Siobhán Parkinson

Kathleen: The Celtic Knot, Siobhán Parkinson (Girls of Many Lands series)

So I picked this book up when I was making a St. Patrick’s Day display. I never read this series—or knew that it existed, actually—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. It’s a gentle, uplifting story, but there’s enough grittiness in Kathleen’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 doesn’t try too hard to cater to its American audience. As a result, there are some references here that will be lost on the book’s target demographic—let’s face it, I’m better versed in Irish history than the average ten-year-old—but ideally, this is the kind of book that’ll encourage those kids to go and learn more. And I love how very Irish the book is—the writing and the dialogue are spot-on (at least, they sound just like twenty-first century Irish people; I obviously haven’t got a clue how people spoke in the 1930s, but at least they don’t sound American).

In short: Sweet, wholesome, educational—what you’d expect from an American Girl book.

Read it if you like: Irish culture and history; the other books in the series

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