Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Friday, April 29, 2011


McGillicuddy McGotham by Leonard Wibberley (1956)

Thomas Patrick Fergus Kevin Sean Desmond McGillicuddy is not his full name (that would take several hours and quite a few pages to document), but it's a short enough name for an inch-high leprechaun -- especially one who has been sent as the Envoy Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary, With or Without Portfolio (as the fancy takes him) from the Kingdom of the Little People of Erin, with which are allied all the Giants, Ogres, Banshees, Water Spirits, Will-of-the-Wisps, Lucky Spiders, and Divers Other Stange and Remarkable Creatures to the King of the Vast Continent of America.

     McGillicuddy faces several challenges, not the least of which is that America doesn't have a king.  He can't be seen by anyone who is not Irish, for one thing, and then by only one Irisher at a time -- and that Irisher happens to be 10-year old Brian O'Connor of West Eighty-Sixth Street.

     McGillicuddy was sent to America to stop the construction of an airstrip planned on a tract of sacred leprechaun land.  Along the way he encounters Brian's parents (Brian's father managed to stop a potential curse that would make all beer hot), Miss Tottenal (speaking of hot), a secretary in love with her boss, Mr. Cnitweitz (her boss, the President of the New World Airlines, and whose name may possibly be pronounces "nitwits"), and the President of the United States (whose golf game is about to improve).  Before the novel's end, he earns another name to add his already long, long name:  McGotham.

     McGillicuddy McGotham is a delightful Irish romp that is highly recommended for fans of Crockett Johnson's Mr. O'Malley, Herminie Templeton's Darby O'Gill, and James Stevens' The Crock of Gold.  Great fun.

     Leonard Wibberley, of course, is the acclaimed creator of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick (The Mouse That Roared, The Mouse on the Moon, and others), author of Feast of Freedom (in which a tribe of cannibals inadvertently eat the Vice President of the United States), Take to Your President (in which a canny Yorkshireman negotiates world peace), and many other novels -- including eleven mystery novels featuring Father Joseph Bredder and written as by "Leonard Holton."


     Doing the round-up honors for this week's Friday's Forgotten Books is Richard Robinson at his blog, The Broken Bullhorn.  Stop by for many more great reading suggestions.


  1. Sounds like a really fun book.

  2. So glad you enjoyed the book---and what a great write-up! Happy to announce that as of yesterday, a special 60th Anniversary Edition of McGillicuddy McGotham is now available as a Kindle ebook Cheers!