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*Fiona's Luck* by Teresa Bateman, illustrated by Kelly Murphy
Also illustrated by Kelly Murphy:

Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters
Fiona's Luck
by Teresa Bateman, illustrated by Kelly Murphy
Ages 4-8 32 pages Charlesbridge January 2007 Hardcover    

Luck has left Ireland. The reason for the disappearance: the King of the Leprechauns.

The days of being able to reach up and grab a handful of luck are over. The leprechauns make plenty of luck, but with the arrival of the “big folk,” the luck is being soaked up quickly. The greedy Leprechaun King decides to store what’s left in a safe place, dishing out luck only as he sees fit. Unfortunately, it’s not enough for all of Ireland.

Now, it’s hard to trick a leprechaun, but Fiona is determined to get back Ireland’s much-needed luck. She makes her own using whitewash, pinecones, dirty rocks, and a clever mind. Rumors soon spread that Fiona has pails, baskets, even wheelbarrows full of luck! She even makes a believer of the Leprechaun King, leading to a battle of luck versus wit. In the throne room of the Leprechaun King, Fiona’s luck is tested three times, but her cleverness never fails her. Her “nothing” wish must be granted by the Leprechaun King himself.

I love what luck does to the illustrations in this book. The old country-looking illustrations are bathed in dark, earthy colors, but the luck floating in the air is visible and everywhere. When the luck is gone, the world looks sadder, and it affects the weather, the farms and the people. Below the earth is another story. Children will love the underground pictures of the Leprechaun King’s cavern. The floors are sprinkled with colorful jewels and leprechauns are all over the place. Some of the leprechaun men have beards or long mustaches; many of the boys wear knee-high pants and striped socks. The girls wear dresses and skirts, and the King wears a tall, golden crown. Aboveground, leprechauns visit Ireland, too, alongside stone walls, green hills, colorful mushrooms, little cottages, and a field of sheep.

Teresa Bateman is a librarian in Washington State and is the author of The Princesses Have a Ball and The Ring of Truth. Kelly Murphy illustrates Fiona's Luck with acrylics, watercolor, and gel medium on Coventry rag. Her illustrations can be found in many children’s books, including Dancing Matilda and The Boll Weevil Ball, which she wrote as well.

Forget luck - it was pure talent that created this beautiful picture book.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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