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*Fergus and the Night-Demon* by Jim Murphy, illustrated by John Manders
Also illustrated by John Manders:

Minnie's Diner: A Multiplying Menu

The Perfect Nest
Fergus and the Night-Demon
by Jim Murphy, illustrated by John Manders
Grades 2-4 32 pages Clarion September 2006 Hardcover    

Fergus O’Mara is a frisky lad, always wanting to have a bit of fun. He’s also terribly good at getting out of doing chores around his home. Cleverly coming up with excuses or reasons for neglecting his responsibilities will lead him to trouble, warns his mother. But Fergus is too jolly and anxious to meet his friends to pay any heed. So off he goes in his nice town clothes, happily skipping towards his destination when he is stopped by a very large and very angry night-demon. Fergus is so clever that he outwits the demon several times before having to confront it in the end with his wit. Getting off so easily leaves quite an impression on Fergus, and he rushes home to become the hardest working lad in the region.

Fergus and the Night-Demon is an ideal book for both Irish holidays and the Halloween season. The book is filled with lively double-paged illustrations executed in gouache and colored pencil by the talented and accomplished illustrator, John Manders, who has worked on more than two dozen children’s books in his career. He resides in Pennsylvania with his wife, two dogs and a parrot.

The hardcover and protective slipcover are printed with the same striking illustrations, a good sign that this is a durable book. Readers will also notice the high quality paper and the thick pages. The book closes with a note about the story by the author, Jim Murphy.

Murphy has received many awards, including a Newbery Honor, for his work. His other published books, An American Plague and The Great Fire, are doing very well in the marketplace. He currently lives with his family in New Jersey. I certainly enjoyed the writing style; with its frisky humor, I could almost hear an Irish narrator in my head while reading the story.

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