A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea

A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea

Favourite Rhymes from an Irish Childhood

Written by Sarah Webb, Illustrated by Steve McCarthy

Owls and pussycats, cockles and mussels, golden stockings, wiggly worms and rattlin’ bogs – they’re all here, and more. Another wonderful collection of rhymes to delight any child, from the author and illustrator Sally Go Round the Stars.



White Raven - 2018

International Youth Library - Winner


Children's Book of the Year (Junior) - 2017

Irish Book Awards - Winner

Hardback: €19.99
Hardback: 64 pages
Size:280x220 mm
ISBN: 9781847177940

A beautifully illustrated collection of nursery rhymes to treasure, and songs, poems and rhymes to share. Enjoy Irish favourites like ‘Brian O’Linn’ and ‘I’ll Tell Me Ma’, classics such as ‘My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean’ and ‘Monday’s Child’, silly rhymes that every child will love like ‘Beans’, ‘Pardon Me’ and ‘On Top of Spaghetti’, as well as magical verses for children written by Oscar Wilde, Oliver St John Gogarty, James Joyce and others.  

Sarah Webb

Sarah Webb is an award-winning children’s writer. Her books include Blazing a Trail: Irish Women who Changed the World (illustrated by Lauren O’Neill) and A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea: Favourite Rhymes from an Irish Childhood (illustrated by Steve McCarthy), both winners of Irish Book Awards.

She runs creative writing clubs for young writers, reviews children’s books for the Irish Independent, and programmes children’s and family events for book festivals and MoLI (Museum of Literature Ireland). She also works part-time in a children’s bookshop.

Passionate about bringing children and books together, Sarah was awarded the Children’s Books Ireland Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Books in Ireland.

Her latest novel for children is The Little Beekeeper of Henrietta Street (illustrated by Rachel Corcoran), set in Dubiln in 1911.


Steve McCarthy

Steve McCarthy is a Dublin-born art maker and obsessive picture-builder. With a keen interest in colour and character, Steve has managed to sneak his singular style into many forms, from Cartoon Saloon’s Oscar-nominated feature film Song of the Sea to children’s books and projects for brands worldwide. His work won Best Illustration at the IDI Irish Design Awards 2016. For more, visit www.mrstevemccarthy.com

Steve illustrated Sally Go Round the Stars, which was nominated for Irish Children’s Book of the Year at the Energy Irish Book Awards, and A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea, which won!

a treasure trove for child and adult readers alike

White Raven 2018

beguiling, wonderfully illustrated

Irish Mail on Sunday

a delicious treat of a book … a treasure of an anthology … filled with captivating illustrations in bold striking colours to help a little person’s imagination really lift off whether they are at reading or picture looking stage … Useful for the younger classroom, where infants would enjoy the unusual verses. The rhymes and tongue twisters would appeal to middle ages and the bright illustrations would make a great stimulus in senior art lessons. Reviewed by Orla Faulkner, Drogheda, Co Louth

InTouch Magazine

‘a veritable treasure trove with a smile-inducing surprise on every page … Grandparents and parents will delight in it just as much as the little ones and the vibrant, lavish double-page illustrations by Steve McCarthy really enhance the journey’

Shinners and the Brood

this exuberantly illustrated collection of beloved rhymes celebrates the richness of Irish and international traditional verse for children and offers a multigenerational appeal. Sarah Webb’s skilful curation of traditional rhymes is beautifully counterparted by Steve McCarthy’s vivid design

Patricia Kennon, Chair of the CBI Awards 2018

less of a book and more of a time machine, Sarah Webb’s latest collection will transport you back to primary school, while Steve McCarthy’s singular illustrations keep you firmly located in the twenty-first century … there is much to rediscover here … McCarthy’s illustrations are note-perfect … immense warmth and humour is palpable in each colour-drenched spread … the impressive balance of history and whimsy throughout this book skilfully preserves a vital piece of our intangible heritage while keeping the tradition alive and located in the present. A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea is the perfect vehicle to bring Irish children’s literature to the next generation at home and abroad … ideal for children, as well as their parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents

Inis Magazine

the compilation provides a treasure trove for young and old readers alike

Irish Times

a humorously illustrated read-aloud anthology … repeated recitations are a must

Kirkus Reviews

this wonderfully illustrated book of popular rhymes and songs will delight children and even have adults belting out a verse or two

Irish Mail on Sunday

a gorgeous collection of rhymes, poems and songs that will transport you back to your childhood and will delight younger readers and parents alike

Sunday Independent

A beautifully illustrated collection of nursery rhymes to treasure, and songs, poems and rhymes to share

Primary Times Magazine

gorgeously illustrated … artistic magic

Belfast Telegraph

beautifully illustrated and full of Irish nursery rhyme favourites, this new book will bring you straight back to you your childhood … you will love sharing this new book with your little ones

Irish Post

what a treat … a charming trip down memory lane all wrapped up in a beautiful, contemporary visual bow


the first thing that strikes you about this gorgeous book is the arresting cover. Look closer, and you will be impressed by the range of incredible colours, the magnificent illustrations and the outstanding design

RTEjr’s Book Club

Sarah Webb has put together an entertaining and diverse collection of nursery rhymes, rhymes, poems and songs that will transport you back and have you humming for the rest of the day. A book to be read aloud and shared!

RTEjr’s Book Club

incredible and fun … the illustrations are bright and lively, setting the mood on each page… perfect to read and share

Children’s Books Ireland Recommended Reading Guide 2017

a beautiful book which will capture your attention right from the superbly illustrated front cover … Each poem is individually illustrated in a style that suits each one, and the overall effect is a lively and vibrant book that will become a popular part of a child's library; once to return to over and over again

Parents in Touch

beautifully illustrated

Irish Country Magazine

a careful balance struck between virtuous and naughty … an anthology ideal for young children both here and abroad … a beautiful book sure to be appreciated by a wide audience

Irish Times

well-rounded and varied collection … a book that has ‘Christmas present’ written all over it … due in no small part to the striking illustrations of Steve McCarthy

Evening Echo

glorious ... it’s a thing of beauty

Kim Harte

avast, ye rapscallions, and float to worlds of rhythmic doubloons and iambic bliss

Totally Dublin

Also by Sarah Webb:

Emma the Penguin
Sally Go Round The Stars
Animal Crackers
The Little Bee Charmer of Henrietta Street
Blazing a Trail
Dare to Dream

Go to author page...

Also by Steve McCarthy:

The One With the Waggly Tail
Sally Go Round The Stars
Sally Go Round the Stars

Go to author page...

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