In Deborah Sheppard’s illustrated children’s story, a leprechaun couple journeys through dark and rain and finally discover a child to call their own.
The book opens in the middle of a stormy night, when a knock on the door causes the leprechaun couple inside to leave their cozy house to find out what’s wrong. They soon discover a circle of fairies protecting a nut from sinking, but when they try to help the fairies rescue the nut, a squirrel spirits it away. The fairies and leprechauns chase the squirrel and eventually emerge into morning, the storm subsided. The nut has been left at the foot of a rainbow in a pot of gold, and inside the nut is a leprechaun baby that the couple adopts and loves.
While a potentially endearing story with a sense of adventure and a happy ending, The Luck of the Leprechauns doesn’t give readers enough foreshadowing or character development to fully invest in the tale. It’s not clear who knocked on the leprechauns’ door, or why the leprechauns dive into the storm when they don’t find anyone on the stoop. Although the first few pages mention that the couple want a leprechaun baby “because they thought the leprechaun clan was disappearing,” readers don’t get an indication that they believe the nut has a baby inside, and the fairies’ concern is never explained.
The quest that ensues is brief and straightforward, without any clever hijinks or teamwork: The nut is simply abandoned, and the baby inside unharmed. Without understanding what’s at stake, readers will find that the story falls flat.
The illustrations are simple and blocky, colored with markers or crayon and sometimes finished with ink. They lack polish and don’t always illustrate the text on the accompanying page.
Overall, The Luck of the Leprechauns requires revision before it will appeal to a young audience.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.