Being the adventures of a boy living at that time in Ireland when the old ways were changing and the new ones were just getting started
We are in Ireland and it’s an awfully long time ago. Centuries and centuries. The country is supposed to have gone Christian, but there’s still magic in the air, salmon in the rivers, berries in the bushes, druids in the forest, a Worm in the lake, fairy music in the distance.
Manchán’s mother wants to make a monk of Manchán. Manchán most emphatically does not want to be made a monk of. He’d rather go fishing with his friend, Pagan-of the-Six-Toes, or go charging through the forest with his pet pig, Muck, or go bare-back riding over the bog on the chieftain’s mad ram, Balor. Anything fun or adventurous or magical, and absolutely nothing to do with turnips, penance, prayers, monks and chanting. Poor Manchán! The more he mucks about having fun, the more his mother is determined to tame him.
About the Book
This quick-witted, hilarious adventure takes the reader on a running jump through the distant but strangely familiar world of early medieval Ireland. Our hero, Manchán, is likeable, mischievous and relatable – even if he did live several thousand years ago – and is sure to appeal to young readers from Ireland and abroad. He loves hurling (though with a turnip, rather than a sliotar), can’t stand his older sister, loves adventures, and finds that adults have a terribly boring idea of what his life ought to look like.
Siobhán Parkinson, publisher at Little Island, describes the book as ‘written out of a deep affection for Ireland and with a terrific ear for dialogue, this is a book that has universal appeal and will be enjoyed way beyond the Irish Sea.’
Praise for Mucking About
‘Charming, quirky, and lots of fun.’ – Andrea Reece, LoveReading4Kids
‘Ireland – but not as you know it. The funniest book you’ll read this year’ – Patricia Forde
‘The stories are told almost entirely from Manchán’s point of view, so things that happen to him are almost never his fault, and are brought to life with beautiful illustrations throughout. ‘ – Inis Reading Guide, Children’s Books Ireland
‘Ingeniously written with a fantastic voice, the story allows the reader to understand that, while this may have happened long ago, some things really don’t change that much. Chambers has built a tangible world for the reader to enter, with a wonderful sense of the people and environment. Honestly, you will laugh out loud. Adventurous, fast-paced, hilariously funny and full of delight.’ – Mary Esther Judy, reviewer and bookseller
‘There is plenty of historical detail and Chambers witty illustrations are full of energy, making the tales come alive. Ideal for readers who have an interest in history.’ – The Irish Independent
‘An extremely funny romp through early Christian history, chronicling the fierce resistance of some (underage) pagans, this book is golden’ – The Meath Chronicle
John Chambers was born and raised in Ireland and is now based in Berlin. He is the creator of long-running comic strip The Adventures of Festy O’Semtex in Phoenix Magazine and has developed concepts and written scripts for TV series, long and short films and many children’s animation series, including Ted Sieger’s Molly the Little Monster. Three times winner of the Best Animated Screenplay Award at the International Animated Film Festival, he was also Writer in Residence at the National Theatre, England in 2006. He has brought masterful storytelling and wry humour to a range of children’s titles including Granny Samurai, the Monkey King and I, Granny Samurai and the Brain of Ultimate Doomitude, and The Seven Deadly Finns (Walker Books).