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Photography : Alison Laredo Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02

Summer Reading Challenge at Mayo County Library
By Alison Laredo
26, Nov 2014 - 17:38

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It was W.C. Fields who coined the oft-repeated ‘Never work with animals or children’ advice, but the staff of Castlebar Library were delighted one recent Monday evening to discover that, in fact, the two proved to be a winning combination. Almost fifty children turned up to collect their certificates after participating in the library’s Summer Reading Challenge. And to help celebrate the animal theme of this year’s reading scheme, Horkan’s Petworld were on hand with a range of furry, spiky, scaly and creepy characters.

Mayo footballer Keith Higgins – who had just helped his Ballyhaunis team to win their county football final and was heading straight from the library to train for the hurling county final – was the all-star (!) guest who handed certificates to each of the young readers, and there was an excited clamour afterwards as the children lined up to have their photos taken with the sporting dynamo.

As Mayo County Council Cathaoirleach Damien Ryan pointed out, the children had done a brilliant job in keeping up with their reading task over the summer, particularly given the excellent weather we had enjoyed.

There were certificates and goody bags for all who took part in the Reading Challenge, and spot prizes for a few of the children. Joe Reidy won for the best review; Lilimai McLoughlin for best picture; Maud Rowland for being the first to finish the Summer Reading Challenge; Ciara O’Malley for being the youngest entrant; Emily Poland Heaney for submitting the most pictures; and Tara Quinn for submitting the most reviews.

From Horkan’s, the able and competent team of Jason, Jane, David, Yvonne and Aedin were on hand  to ensure that the boys and girls had a chance to get up close and personal with creatures including a cockroach, a hedgehog, a millipede, an anaconda, and three adorable puppies – two Alsatian and one wolf.

Some of the childrens’ reviews were extremely perceptive and interesting, with flashes of humour throughout. The judges’ favourites included these snippets:

“It’s about a boy called Jeremy Jones and some things that he did. He hurt his hand and went to hospital. He thinks that an X-Ray is called an Egg-Ray! He thought his hand wasn’t broken because it would have fallen to pieces!” Amy, age 8, on Do Gerbils go to Heaven? By David Henry Wilson

“It’s about these animals that get annoyed by the farmer and they then take over the farm and then the pigs want to take over the farm. They want to be equal, but they turn out being meaner than the farmer.” 12-year-old Cuileann on Animal Farm by George Orwell

Geronimo Stilton falls in love with a countess and tries to win her over by finding a great discovery. He finally discovers it, but doesn’t love the countess any more! Well, that’s love for you.”  Emmanuel, age 11, on All Because of a Cup of Coffee by Geronimo Stilton

“It’s one of these stories that you miss most of waiting for the action bit, but at the end you suddenly realize there is not meant to be any action bit and have to reread it all over again to appreciate its true beauty. Very good book.” 10-year-old Joe on A Boy and a Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton

“If there was an OMG! AMAZING! box I could tick, I would. This is a beautiful story about the horse Joey coping with the hardships of the cavalry.”  Abbie, age 10, on War Horse by Michael Morpugo

“This book makes you happy, sad, emotional and joyful all at the same time. I would give this book 10 out of 10.”  Hannah on Going Home by Cliff McNish

“It’s about a girl called Michelle who lives in Dublin and has never seen the countryside, but she is shocked when she hears she is going to her cousin’s house in the countryside. She thinks they’re mad and they talk funny. Basically, she thinks everything is boring, boring, BORING … They make up at the end (eventually). This is a brilliant book. I’d recommend it!”  10-year-old Ruairi on Cows are Vegetarians by Siobhan Parkinson



Katie Heaney's Tiger




It's not the bookworm you'd expect to find at Castlebar Library but a millipede from Horkan's Petworld






Horkan's Petworld manager Jason shows off this lovely hedgehog at Castlebar Library




Where better for a relaxing read than Castlebar Library


Lilimai McLoughlin's Dog










Tom Murray's Bright Stanley


Big smiles from the boys and girls who took part in the Castlebar Library Summer Reading Challenge as they display their certificates. Also in the picture are Maureen Costello, Castlebar Library, Mayo County Council Cathaoirleach Damien Ryan, Mayo footballer Keith Higgins, Mayo County Librarian Austin Vaughan, and Mary Glavey, Castlebar Library.



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