Author Photo Eilís Dillon
Books for Young Children

Although best known for her novels and her longer books for teenagers, Eilís Dillon also wrote books for young children, in English and Irish. These books were warmly praised in the newspapers, as you can see below. On this page you can read a list of the books, and what the reviewers said about them. There's also a link to a page about one of the books, "The Wild Little House."

Books in English:

The Wild Little House
London, Faber, 1955;
New York, Criterion, 1957

"The wild little house, standing on four stout posts, tires of resting in the midst of tall, stiff houses. It discovers it can walk and, after a few preliminary runs, it takes off for the seaside. Both the story and the illustrations dance with humour." (British Weekly)

More about this book on a separate page


King Big-Ears
London, Faber, 1961;
New York, Norton, 1963

"Eilís Dillon has followed the genuine traditional pattern with this book to produce a charming, light-hearted and most satisfactory fairy-story for reading or telling. It is a modern story worthy of its tradition, to which delicate illustrations by Kveta Vanecek add charm and character." (The Auckland Star)
"Irresistibly exciting." (Northern Whig, Belfast)
"A true flavour of fairytale." (The Scotsman.)


The Cats' Opera
London, Faber, 1962;
Indianapolis, Bobbs Merrill, 1963

Once a year, on Saint John's Eve, all animals can talk. Everybody knows that. But did you know that cats can compose, stage and perform an Italian-style grand opera, in a real opera house, all on their own? That's what John Mulligan and his family find out.
"An amazingly funny book, with illustrations of the first class by Kveta Vanecek." (The Scotsman)
"A marvellous satirical story." (The Friend)
"Delicious fantasy." (Books and Bookmen)
"Next time I hear cats miaowing, I'm going to listen carefully, lest I should by any mischance be turning a deaf ear to some of Prosper Cattimée's compositions." (Cherry Murphy, Radio Éireann)
"Delightful and amusing." (Belfast Newsletter)

A stage version of The Cats' Opera was presented as the 1981 Christmas show at the Peacock Theatre, Dublin.


The Wise Man on the Mountain
London, Hamish Hamilton, 1969;
New York, Atheneum, 1970

This witty parable, about a family that solve their problems by making them worse, is beautifully illustrated by Gaynor Chapman. The Horn Book Magazine wrote: "Brilliant full-color illustrations emphasizing the fun in the foolishness make an inviting picture book."


The Horse-Fancier
London, Macmillan, 1985

A small boy invites a horse home for a plate of cornflakes. Home is a high-rise flat, but the horse doesn't really mind.

Books in Irish:

The first books Eilís Dillon published were in Irish. They are about the adventures of rabbits, mice, weasels and other animals.

An Choill Bheo
Dublin, Government Publication Sale Office, 1948


Oscar agus an Cóiste sé nEasóg
Dublin, Government Publication Sale Office, 1952


Ceol na Coille
Dublin, Government Publication Sale Office, 1955

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