THE LEPRECHAUN'S GOLD

Pamela Duncan Edwards, Author, Henry Cole, Illustrator , illus. by Henry Cole. HarperCollins/Tegen $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-623974-3

Where there are leprechauns, surely there is gold to be found—but at what price? Two men in long-ago Ireland find out in this chipper tale with dulcet undertones. Sharing a story line much like that of A Fine St. Patrick's Day (see below), Edwards's story, too, has the ring of folklore. Old Pat is known around his village as a fine harpist who makes music for all to hear (even when they can't pay for a performance). Conversely, the villagers know Young Tom, Old Pat's skilled but prideful protégé, as one who sees no point in playing if not for financial reward. But when the king sponsors a contest to find the best harpist in the land, it's the journey to the contest that proves decisive. On their way, the two hear someone in trouble, and Young Tom thinks only of his upcoming performance while Old Pat goes to offer help—and ends up rescuing a grateful leprechaun. In a joyous conclusion fittingly filled with music and dancing, Pat indeed benefits from the leprechaun's treasure. Edwards (previously teamed with Cole for The Worrywarts ) builds a mellifluous rhythm with her quaint phrasing and clean story line. Cole plays up contrast and tension, conveying the stark differences between his characters. Portraits of Old Pat, who sports variously an impish grin or a warm, kindly smile, give this tale a timeless feel. At book's end, readers are challenged to find the 16 four-leaf clovers hidden in the artwork. Ages 4-7. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/05/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
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