cover image The Leprechaun Under the Bed

The Leprechaun Under the Bed

Teresa Bateman, illus. by Paul Meisel. Holiday House, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2221-0

The luck o’ the Irish—even if it comes from a begrudging leprechaun—is alive and well in Bateman’s original folktale set on the Emerald Isle. All is pleasant and peaceful in cobbler/leprechaun Brian O’Shea’s underground home, until a man named Sean MacDonald begins building a cottage overhead. Brian conjures headless ghosts and a banshee to stop Sean’s encroachment on his turf, to no avail (“It’s just like my sainted mother always told me,” Sean says. “The land of Ireland is full of magic and surprises”). Brian makes a trap door underneath Sean’s bed so he can pop into the cottage unseen, but Sean catches on soon enough, and the two come to an unspoken understanding that serves them both. Bateman (The Christmas Pups) sprinkles her humorous prose with traditional folklore tropes, but the end result feels pleasantly fresh. In his jaunty watercolor and acrylic paintings, Meisel (The Haunted Hamburger and Other Ghostly Stories) captures a timeless countryside dotted with stone walls, thatch roof cottages, and patches of green. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)