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*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


***Nory Ryan's Song

by Patricia Reilly Giff

Reviewed August 2001.

Even the children’s book I read this week was rather heavy.  Nory Ryan’s Song was set in the 1840s during the Irish Potato Famine.  Of course, I read it now since I had just been to Ireland and seen the abandoned cottages.  Ireland still only has about half the population it had before the famine.  I have read other books about the famine, but I liked this one as well.  Most of the others focused on the difficult journey to America, but this one was about actually trying to stay alive during the famine.  It turns out that when the people couldn’t pay the rent because the potato crop failed, the landlords actually took their animals as payment--thus taking away their means of feeding themselves.  She said in the note at the end that twice as many animals were sent to England during the famine as were needed to feed the whole population of Ireland.  So this book was sobering, too, though it had a surprisingly upbeat flavor to it. 

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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