We have heard it over and over again.
The saying is around since Adam was a boy.
‘Never judge a book by its cover’.
It is a saying that has come from the lips of many.
Whether it is in relation to love, or purchasing an item, the saying is repeated ad nauseam.
It is something that many authors find difficult to accept, but readers regularly judge a book by its cover.
A trip into any of the Kilkenny shops and the friendly staff will tell you that a potential reader’s buying decision often starts with the cover.
And it’s not just the front cover but the title that grabs the reader’s attention.
A visit to a bookshop is an incredible experience for the reader. But for the publisher, there is a twenty second timeline to grab the reader’s attention.
And so, when we picked up a copy ‘We are Kilkenny Cats!’, we can certainly say that the publishers meet the aforementioned criteria. And some.
PRAISE FOR PRODUCTION
Kilkenny author Donal Cadogan and illustrator Gemma Aloisi deserve great praise for the presentation.
That it was printed locally in Kilkenny by Modern Printers makes it all the sweeter.
Geared towards the younger market, the book is a little gem and would be ideal reading both for school and for home. One would suggest children from fourth class and upwards would be in their element with this book.
For obvious reasons, the book is narrated by a cat called Nora.
Called after the mighty river Nore. Naturally.
Nora tells, in wonderful detail not only what it means to be a Kilkenny cat but the History of Kilkenny.
Each period in the history of the city is told by one of Nora’s ancestors.
The book is a very clever way of teaching the history of Kilkenny to a younger audience.
It does so in plain and simple language while at the same time filling the young readers mind with an abundance of information.
CATS HAVE A TALE TO TELL
Some of the cats include Ossie The Chieftain cat who tells how two thousand years ago Leinster and Munster were constantly at war.
In tells about the people called the Osraige which means the people of the Deer and their Kingdom of Ossory.
We are also introduced to Norman, the warrior cat who explains what occurred in 1169 when King Henry II of England sent his Norman Knights to Ireland.
It tells of a man called Strongbow who decided to build a wooden fort near the Cathedral of St Caince.
The book covers all imaginable aspects of history and the reader will learn about the mining industry in Kilkenny; Edmund Ignatius Rice; the founding of Smithwick’s Brewery; the Kings of Ossory; the formation of Parliament in 1367; the walls of Kilkenny; the coal mining industry; Kilkenny’s involvement in WW1 and the birth of the Kilkenny Design workshop.
Of course special mention must go to Henry, the hurler’s cat, as no book about Kilkenny would be complete without the mention of hurling.
HISTORICAL AND EDUCATIONAL
It would be our opinion that every household in Kilkenny should have a copy of this book. Not only that, but every school, in every parish of county Kilkenny should get their hands on this stunning publication.
This is going to prove a most rewarding resource for students and múinteoirí alike.
Both historical and educational, it ticks all the right boxes.
The author allocates a full page also to the story of how Kilkenny people became known as ‘the cats’.
This is a must read for Kilkenny people, at home and abroad and we are willing to bet, that no matter how many copies are printed, a reprint will be ordered soon.
Full credit to Donal Cadogan for this publication. His work is a treasure trove that will be extremely beneficial to sowing the seed of interest in history to young minds.
Donal explained to The Kilkenny Observer, that plans are afoot for a schools resource package to accompany the book.
As for Sicilian born illustrator Gemma Aloisi, may we suggest the following.
Such is the power of her work, she should make her way to the nearest milliner in Kilkenny.
Once there, she should purchase an item of her fancy.
Then she should obtain one of the biggest feathers she can find and place it firmly in her recent millinery purchase.
A credit to both, and there is no doubt that readers will love the account of one thousand years of Kilkenny history.
Cherish every ‘meowment’.