IN a week that will see the global cinema release of J.R.R Tolkien's ' The Hobbit', it is appropriate that a new book, of a similar genre but inspired by the amazing beauty of the Castlegregory, celebrated its official launch in Dingle.
' The Yawning Rabbit River Chronicles' is an epic tale penned by American writer J.L. Kimmel and beautifully illustrated by Italian artist David Ceccarelli. It follows the fate of a river and its heroes – a thieving rabbit, a deer who transforms at night, a magical boy and a rat with a heart of gold who battle against monsters and demons to bring safety to the river they love.
Speaking to The Kerryman at the book's official Irish launch in the Dingle Bookshop last Saturday, author Janine Kimmel explained how Glenteenassig Valley inspired David and herself to bring the tale to life.
"Four years ago David and I paid the first of three visits to 'An Tigh Beag' in Aughacashla," said Janine. "The area really inspired us to create this tale and many scenes in the book are drawn from the surroundings there. The Owencashla River became the Yawning Rabbit River, Castlegregory became Briarwood and John O'Connor's cottage is the setting for Nub Begley's Farm," she said.
The book – which is geared towards readers over the age of ten - has been gaining a lot of attention in the USA and in Italy since its initial release last September. Indeed David's illustrations, including a map – a West Kerry 'Middle Earth' of sorts – includes all kinds of local landmarks such as Conor Pass and other such mystical locations such as Teru, Valley of the Giants and Laughing Wolf Pass.
"It's doing very well in the USA and in Italy," said Tuscany native David who hails from a small town near Florence. "Janine and I worked well together in bringing a good balance of darkness and light to the tale and people can reference the story to the area which really brings it to life."
The owners of An Tigh Beag in Aughacashla, John and Patricia O'Connor and their son Mint, joined David and Janine in the Dingle Bookshop to launch the book last Saturday.