Sunday, January 24, 2010


 Compact Disc Review


Available from Yvonne Healy, 5193 King Road, Howell, MI 48843, Phone: 810-813-3000. Email: Order online from $14.00 (includes shipping & handling)

Reviewed By Linda Goodman

A citizen of two cultures, Irish and American, Yvonne Healy spoke both the Irish and English languages until she started elementary school. After that, Irish was her parents’ secret language, used to discuss things forbidden to children’s ears. From this world of diversity, cultural respect, and unspoken secrets was born one of America’s most endearing storytellers.

A little bit Ireland and a little bit USA, Healy’s stories have one foot in each world. Blarney is a celebration of her Irish roots, tempered by the seasoning of an American upbringing.

The CD begins with Ballinamuck, set on a dairy farm belonging to Healy’s cousin Pat. As Cousin Pat takes Healy and her family on a tour of his farm, he entertains them with stories, including a witty tale of a smart and heroic pig.

The CD moves from funny to dark with Piggyback Corpse, the story of an Irishman’s encounter with a crowd of leprechauns who put a corpse on his back and offer him a grim deal: bury the corpse before sunrise or become their slave forever. Shades of Mary Culhane are evoked as the Irishman races to rid himself of the corpse before daybreak.

The Silver Branch relates the tale of Cormac McArt, who unwittingly trades the three things he loves most for a mysterious silver branch that can soothe anger and calm tumult. In his quest to rescue what he holds most dear, he becomes “tried in the fire of battle and tempered in the water of life,” as well as the greatest king of all Ireland.

In Travellin’ Con, Healy shares a story of her grandfather, Con Healy, who came to the United States on April 27, 1900 and sailed right back home again. In diapers during her own journey to America, Healy revels in her ancestor’s tale.

When Healy’s grandmother introduces Healy to her first drink of whiskey, a humorous story takes a dark turn to the tragedy of Bloody Sunday, as her grandmother relates the heartbreaking story of her own first drink of that golden brown liquid. Granny’s 1st Whiskey is storytelling at its best, taking us on a journey that is difficult to travel, but leaving us with such a deep appreciation for our blessings that we are grateful for the trip.

Lord of Blarney relates an encounter between Cormac McCarthy and Elizabeth I, resulting in a new word in the Irish language: blarney.

This recording, recommended for ages 12 – adult, would be a cherished addition to any storyteller’s collection, and a wonderful gift to those who love story. Healy exhibits great talent and a reverence for her art, with just a touch of the luck of the Irish. It is a winning combination

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Miss Louise: A Collection of Stories

Compact Disc Review

Miss Louise
A Collection of Stories

Available from Louise Tucciarone, 9332 Wards Road, Rustburg, VA 24588
Phone: 434-821-7626. Email: $13.00 + $2.00 shipping & handling

Reviewed By Linda Goodman

Louise Tucciarone’s debut CD is a charming collection of stories that will delight children with its whimsical take on life, love, and human nature.

The Blacksmith and the Leprechaun relates the events of a special day in the life of a blacksmith named Patrick, whose encounter with a Leprechaun is marred by his own negligence and his ignorance of Leprechaun trickery.

The Librarian and the Chicken tells of a “strange and unlikely” happening that occurs when a small-town librarian finds a chicken in her library. The humor in this story is sure to evoke laughter from young listeners.

Princess Miranda is the story of a perfect child’s encounter with puberty, which turns her personality upside-down. Will the king find a cure?

Why the Spider Has a Small Waist is a pour quoi story that takes us to the beginning of time to explain the spider’s present day appearance.

Miss Beatrice is the story of the “most beautiful butterfly that ever lived” and her search for her true love and the perfect father for her future children. When a tragic event jeopardizes her happiness, her friends lend their support and all ends well.

Miss Louise clearly has the heart of a child, and children will enjoy her enthusiasm, her playful character voices, and her simplicity. What more could we ask of a storyteller?