Review by Jamie Whitfield A book loaded with accurate facts? Not exactly what young readers ask for first. But, in Allyn's Embarrassing and Mysterious Irish Adventures, Carol McGinley does more than recite historical facts and geographical statistics as she moves readers through modern Ireland. Allyn Gallagher is a typical American teenager who happens to have tomato-red hair, freckles that reproduce, and a little brother, Mitchell the Pain, who has a knack for creating havoc wherever he goes.

Before leaving America, Mitch manages to smoke up a confessional and cause a fist fight among the dancing food at the local pizza place. None of this deters Aunt Georgette from taking the family on a vacation to Ireland. Mitch's antics continue to embarrass Allyn throughout their trip through Ireland, but Allyn's real adventures begin when she overhears a conversation in a tourist shop at Shannon Airport. When she inadvertently comes into the possession of the travel itinerary of these mysterious strangers, Allyn notices that it closely matches theirs, and sets off to solve the mystery.

It is through Allyn and Mitch's travels that the beauty of Ireland unfolds. McGinley introduces young readers to such diverse topics as B-and-B's (Allyn originally thinks they are barns and bunkhouses ), the part Danes and Celts played in Irish history, Americans' conception of the violence in Northern Ireland, and the typical Irish breakfast through the casual conversation of these anything-but-typical tourists. Beautiful photographs, maps, and drawings are placed throughout the text to enhance young readers' understanding and enjoyment of this adventure, and it's worthy to note that the New York Irish Tourist Board gave this book its official stamp of approval. Definitely an affordable way to visit the Emerald Isle! Jamie Whitfield is a published author and educator living in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

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