Hardcover published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York, 2002.
Groundwood in Canada, 2002.
- Dressler in German in Germany, 2003.
- Hachette Jeunesse in France, 2004.
Winner of the Chocolate Lily Book Award, 2004 -a BC young reader’s choice award
Winner of the Sheila A. Egoff BC Book Prize for Children’s Literature, 2003
Selected as Children’s Literature Choice List for 2003, a list recognizing 150 of the year’s top contributions to children’s literature
- Red Cedar Youth Reader’s Choice Award, 2004-5
- Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award, 2004
- Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Awards, 2004
- Red Maple Award by the Ontario Library Association, 2003
- CNIB Tiny Torgi Audio Literary Award (for books in alternative formats), 2003
- Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book of the Year Award, 2003
“As near flawless as a book can be. Heneghan is one of the best and most unusual [of] children’s authors . . . an amazing writer who should be known everywhere.”
E. E. Cran, New Brunswick Reader Magazine
“Heneghan tells an engaging and optimistic tale of loss, recovery, and a little bit of magic.”
“Heneghan treats all his characters with kindness, and Andy’s bruised sorrow and battered hope will engage readers to the last page.”
GraceAnn A. DeCandido, Booklist
Is blood thicker than water?
It rains nearly every day, until the rivers burst their banks. The first thing the slumbering Sheehogue knew was the deafening boom that tumbled them from their grassy bowers. This was followed by a flood of water and mud over the meadow that swept the Sheehogue rapidly along in nature’s unexpected waterslide. They saw homes of mortals tumbling into the creek. “Save their children!” the Old Ones ordered.
Andy Flynn is one of those saved, but his mother and stepfather both die in he flood. Suddenly the only world that Andy has ever known is gone and he is alone. Aunt Mona, whom he has never met, takes him to live with her in Halifax, on the opposite side of the country. During the trip, Aunt Mona reveals to him that his father is still alive — and living in Halifax. As soon as they reach their destination, Andy ecapes to find his father. Although Vincent Flynn may not be the perfect father, Andy wants to stay with him rather than live with his harsh aunt. After all, Vincent is fun, and he has promised Andy he will find a real job so they can move to a nicer place than the seedy Mayo Rooms. But even with a bit of help from the Little People, Andy’s father can’t seem to keep his word.
Filled with humor and mischief, James Heneghan’s latest novel tells the poignant story of a young boy’s search for a true home.
FROM THE HORN BOOK (July/August 2002). What keeps this story from becoming just another problem novel are the Sheehogue—“faeries who left Ireland during the Great Famine and are now … scattered throughout the world.” This subtle element adds a touch of fantasy to a satisfying novel featuring well-developed characters who are never aware of the role the Sheehogue play in their lives. It isn’t until Andy discovers where he really belongs and settles into a happy new life that the Sheehogue return to their home in Vancouver. But no mystical flying on gossamer wings for these postmodern Little People: they head home on Air Canada.
FROM JOAN MARSHALL IN CM MAGAZINE (Sept. 6, 2002). Highly Recommended. ***1/2 out of 4. In this cut-to-the-bone portrayal of an 11-year-old boy’s grief, James Heneghan raises questions about parenting and weaves through it the amusing and persistent influence of the Irish faeries. … The crisp, realistic dialogue moves this story along and reflects the Nova Scotia setting. The constant rain and chill of a Halifax winter permeates Flood and provides the perfect background to this story about grief and family love. The lilting quality of Vinny’s honeyed words charms the reader as well as Andy. Andy’s stream of anxious thoughts perfectly portrays a child’s anger and fear. His worst fears are repeated: “What if your dad doesn’t…What if your dad doesn’t…” … But by far the most interesting approach in Flood is the insertion of the faeries’ amusing conversations as they watch over and protect Andy until he is settled. Conjured up in Vinny’s wonderful storytelling and superstitions, the fairies wrap this story in comfort and warmth even as Andy’s circumstances deteriorate. … Characterization is compelling and believable. Before the flood Andy is a typical 11-year-old, concerned with friends, soccer, TV and video games and indulged by a loving mother and absent stepfather. Heneghan cleverly develops Andy’s character from the stunned overwhelming disbelief of a suddenly orphaned boy to a boy whose anger and desperation push him to find his father and to coax him into a new life as a parent. … It is the picture of Vinny, though, that dominates this novel – the talented, beloved man who cannot cope with his brother’s accidental death and who lets his life fall apart. Vinny, the con artist with the golden tongue, can charm anyone but remains totally unreliable. It’s good for children to see that all adults aren’t perfect and some cannot change. Heneghan’s humanity glows here as Andy, Mona and Hugh determine that they will keep in touch with Vinny and make sure that he is OK. This is an excellent novel. Since the drab, dreary cover will not likely attract children, the book will require some selling, but this is such a compelling story that any middle school student will be truly touched by it. Joan Marshall is the teacher-librarian at Fort Richmond Collegiate in Winnipeg, MB.
FROM JENNIFER HUBERT, AMAZON.COM. It’s a good thing that 11-year-old Andy Flynn has the Sheehogue, or Fairy people, looking out for him, or he’d be up a creek–literally!… Irish-born Canadian author James Heneghan gambles on a mix of lighthearted Irish folklore and a rather somber story of a lost and lonely boy. But imaginative plotting and well-constructed characters makes this gamble pay off. Reminiscent of “Floodland” and “Witch Hill”, both by Marcus Sedgwick, Flood is another satisfying, magically real read for middle-grade students. (Ages 10 to 14).
FROM KENNETH OPPEL, QUILL & QUIRE (Feature Review: “A Difficult Dad”, April 2002). Heneghan is a fine writer, and, as always, his unadorned prose carries a wallop. In Flood, his greatest achievement is the complex characterization. There are no heroes or villains here, no easy oppositions. He captures Andy’s shell-shock, and later his innate determination and adaptability (so true of children) even in the midst of a tenement apartment. And just when the reader is tempted to write off Vincent Flynn [the father], Heneghan shows us his redeeming traits—kindness and honesty—when he finally tells his son “a boy needs to be looked after properly. And I’m not up to it. It’s beyond me. D’you hear what I’m telling you? I’m not the one to bring you up.” … It is Vincent who calls up Aunt Mona and asks her to take Andy into her home. Here Heneghan deftly chronicles Andy’s complicated emotional state as he vents his feelings of abandonment toward his Aunt Mona … And Heneghan believably moves Andy from animosity to grudging acceptance, and then gratitude and love toward his new family. … What is most impressive about Heneghan’s handling of the father-son relationship is that he resists what surely must have been a powerful temptation to reform Vincent Flynn. A lesser writer would have succumbed to superficial sentimentality, showing the father finally getting his act together for the sake of his son, getting a job, finding a better place to raise his boy. To Heneghan’s immense credit, Vincent Flynn does not such thing. And despite the faeries, this is a splendid book.
FROM BETH L. MEISTER, SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL Grades 4-8– Interludes at the end of each chapter feature the Little People’s bantering conversations, and Andy’s father’s Irish tales add a touch of fantasy and humor to this realistic and serious book. While not a tearjerker like Ann M. Martin’s “With You and Without You” (Holiday, 1986; o.p.) or a journey of acceptance like Sharon Creech’s “Walk Two Moons” (HarperCollins, 1994), it is a worthy and warmly written book about coming to terms with a parent’s death. Beth L. Meister, Queens Borough Public Library, Flushing, NY. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
FROM OLIVIA SAILOR, CENTER FOR LITERATURE FOR YOUNG READERS. I thought this book was great. It had humor, sorrow, adventure, and fantasy all mixed into one. It was beautifully written and I eagerly await his next book. James Heneghan is an excellent writer who makes you feel like you’re right there with Andy and his unseen, lifely friends. Though this book may be fictional, Heneghan claims that the wind chimes you heard, after you tripped yesterday, might have come from the pranksters themselves. This reader can vouch for Heneghan’s claim. I think that nine to twelve year old kids would really like this book. If you’ve ever read “Artemis Fowl”, by Eoin Colfer, I think you would like it. It deals with fairies and other such things and has a clever plot that was carefully thought out.~ Olivia Sailor, 7th Grade, Wilmington Area High School, Ohio.