As the title of the forty-third Magic Tree House installment implies, Leprechaun in Late Winter revolves around Ireland’s most famous mythical creature and its most famous holiday.
This time, recurring characters Jack and Annie are transported to another time and place: Galway, Ireland, in the 1860s. Their mission is to help an unusually stoic young lady get over some writer’s block. The kids get help from one of the little green guys the area is known for.
Osborne does several things well in this particular edition. For one, she uses the tale to remind the readers that their creativity is just waiting to shine through. She also takes a C-list holiday that is (along with Cinco de Mayo) primarily celebrated by adults and uses it as the backdrop to an imaginative and engaging adventure.
This reviewer’s son, who is in the targeted age group and a veteran of Magic Tree House stories, did not think this was his favorite but enjoyed it nonetheless. St Patrick’s day may not mean much to the average kid, but leprechauns will always capture their imagination. Recommended.
The nonfiction companion to Leprechaun, however, could be filed under TMI (Too Much Information). To the hard-core folklorist, it might be interesting to note that some of Ireland’s celebrated fairies are invisible, some like to hide things, and others, along with Druids, like to dance under a full moon. For the intended readers, however, lumping all of the above into the “Leprechaun” category will suffice. Not recommended.