Seamus McNamus


This modern-day folktale, based on the traditions of the centuries-old Puck Fair in Ireland, chronicles the journey of a very unlikely goat named Seamus McNamus. Rich in humor, lore, and love, this book’s gentle message reminds us that sometimes it’s the most unexpected hero who saves the day.


Written by Rob Kurtz. Illustrated by Mike Lester.

For Seamus McNamus and the other animals on their Irish farm, life is pretty good. They all have their jobs. Seamus and his fellow goats make wool for sweaters. The cows make fresh milk to drink. The chickens lay eggs to eat. The farmer sells the animals’ goods to make his living–and they’re all very happy and content.

But lately, business has been a little slow as newer, cheaper items have come about–and people start to reconsider what they’re willing to consume. Wool is expensive, so sweaters are being made of nylon. Milk isn’t as sweet as soda, so children are drinking that instead. And worried about the effects of cholesterol, people have stopped eating eggs. Unsure of how to get business moving again, the farmer tells the animals that if their goods won’t sell, then the animals will only be good for one other thing–being tasty things to eat!

Fearing for their lives, the animals start brainstorming money making schemes and they figure out a perfect job for Seamus —a job at the petting zoo! Seamus doesn’t particularly like the idea, but he also doesn’t want to get eaten–so he sets off to apply.

Along the way, he passes through town, where a festival is being held–and someone shouts an order for everyone to find the king. A moment later, a boy has thrown a lasso around Seamus’s neck–and he’s being carried into town touted as king, with a whole lot of pickles for the eating! But after eating way too many, Seamus is too full to keep looking for the petting zoo and heads home to his bed–where his fellow farm animals aren’t very happy at all with the fact that he was out having fun instead of finding a job.

The festival is three days long–and Seamus is king for the duration–so he returns to town the next day to show them one of his talents. He is rather a good dancer! The crowd claps and cheers and throws him lots of money–and he makes his way home with two large money sacks to present to the farmer. But in the woods, he comes across two big, scary theives–who steal both sacks of money!

Everything seems hopeless, and as the farmer begins to sharpen his knives in the kitchen, the animals resign themselves to becoming meals. But Seamus isn’t ready to give up just yet! Perhaps all they need to do is remind the townsfolk of how nice wool sweaters, milk, and eggs are! He has one more day as king, so he and the other animals will just have to use that day to show them their goods! Perhaps they’ll even make some money to take back to the farmer as well! They come up with a plan to show the townsfolk just what they have to offer–how beautiful and soft wool sweaters are, how sweet milk can be, and how very delicious eggs taste!

In his short reign, Seamus learns that while being a king is fun, the best leaders are the ones that believe in those around them and never give up when things gets hard.