A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ronan Boyle and the Swamp of Certain Death is the second volume of Thomas Lennon's saga pitting its reluctant hero and his friends against a whole lot of criminal-minded wee folk (including leprechauns, banshees, and other magical beings). Who, at the end of Book 1, abducted the brave Captain Siobhan and heroic wolfhound Lily to Tir Na Nog for some nefarious purpose -- and now, against all odds and common sense, the geeky, angsty Ronan is tasked with getting her back. As the loony tale unfolds, there's a steady barrage of bathroom humor, fart humor, gross-out humor, and violence from expert shillelagh-whacking to "non-fatal stabbings," which aren't even a crime in Tir Na Nog. Also plentiful: Every known Irish stereotype regarding whiskey, clay pipes, and a fondness for trickery. Friendship, courage, tenacity, and the ability to deal with unexpected perils, from a fat unicorn's lousy lounge act to a lake full of snakes, rule the day.
What's the story?
RONAN BOYLE AND THE SWAMP OF CERTAIN DEATH finds the Irish police's most unlikely hero on an urgent quest to rescue the formidable Captain Siobhan and stalwart wolfhound, Lily. The end of Book 1 found them dragged off to Tir Na Nog for some unknown but obviously dire reason. Accompanied by his friend Log (who was kidnapped as a baby and raised by leprechauns), the brave dog Rí, and a puka with shape-shifting skills and a bad hot-pickle habit, Ronan enters an unpredictable, gross world loaded with peril. And also opportunities to discover unforeseen character strengths.
Is it any good?
Book 1 was a little uneven, but author Thomas Lennon pretty much hits it out of the park in his second installment pitting Ronan against an endless, comically criminal lot of the wee folk. Leprechauns, churichauns, banshees, pukas, far darrigs and a whole lot of other hostile troublemakers, to say nothing of a unicorn with a posse of goons and a really bad lounge act, await our hero and his friends as Ronan Boyle and the Swamp of Certain Death sweeps them to their likely doom. John Hendrix's dramatically cartoonish illustrations make the characters and their wacky perils especially vivid.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Irish tales involving the wee folk. What other stories do you know that involve them? Are they always pretty much up to no good, as in Ronan Boyle and the Swamp of Certain Death, or do they ever show a kinder side?
If your parents were sent to prison for something they didn't do, as Ronan's were, what would you do? Who would you call?
It's a well-known legend that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland. Ronan Boyle and the Swamp of Certain Death has an interesting theory of where they went. Where do you think they went? Do you know any other stories where they turn up unexpectedly?
- Author: Thomas Lennon
- Illustrator: John Hendrix
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Amulet Books
- Publication date: March 17, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 304
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: May 4, 2020
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For kids who love adventure and Ireland
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