Too Many Leprechauns: Or How That
Pot O’ Gold Got to the End of the Rain-
By Stephen Krensky; illustrated
by Dan Andreasen
Finn O’ Finnegan looked
like a rogue and walked
like a rascal, so it was
widely thought that he was
at least one or the other.
And his shadow, which fol-
lowed him closely and knew
all his secrets, might have said
he was both.
Now if that isn’t the perfect opener for a St.
Patrick’s Day tale filled with mystery and mischief, then I don’t know what is!
Dan Andreasen’s art perfectly captures these green-garbed and chubby cheeked cobblers of fairy shoes called leprechauns, that result in accumulations of riches at the end of rainbows. The illustrations here depict Ireland’s lush green tones, thatched cottages and stone walls that could be right out of the John Ford movie seen this time of year, called “The Quiet Man.” By the way, don’t let your young ones miss it if it shows up on TV anytime soon. It is a gem that shows both Ireland and its folk to perfection.
Finn, looking like an Irish clone of Ichabod Crane of Washington Irving fame, has arrived home to Dingle, Ireland, after a year
in Dublin, “looking to rest his feet and grow
fat on his mother’s soda bread.”
Everything seems the same, but no!
Mischief is afoot via the infernal fairy shoe making “wee folk”, known as
leprechauns, as their cobblers’ hammers create a din each evening.
Will the folk of Dingle ever get a night’s rest with that infernal tapping?
And herein lies an Irish picture book tale perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!
Finn hears Dobb, the leprechaun, busy tapping away, making shoes for the fairies near a stone wall near Finn’s house.
Finn is a mite cagey with Dobb and suggests the possibility of a dropped stitch in his shoemaking. Faith and begorrah! Impugning the fairy shoemaking talents of Dobb leads Dobb to meet Wattle who’s also a shoe maker in whom Finn also discerns a faulty shoe maker. What a great pretender and actor is Finn!
And by weeks end, he’s met the whole legion of shoemaking leprechauns and fault does he find with each one’s skills.
Eager to prove his mettle in fine shoemaking, Dobb takes Finn to see a “great pile of gold.”
We hardly could have gained
all of this, said Dobb, “if our shoes
were not the finest of their kind.
Finn must admit to the impressiveness of the shoemakers’ collection of coin.
But, says Finn, he might just be persuaded to change his mind about production quality…. if he could see ALL the shoes TOGETHER
in the village square on the morrow.
Young readers will see where this is all going as the shoes appear as promised…. but mounds of glittering coinage disappear as the leprechauns are busily piling shoe upon shoe in the town square.
Where is Finn? One can only guess. And young readers will.
Tit for tat is his game, and slumber-filled nights for the people of Dingle is his aim.
Young readers will love this Irish tale of how leprechauns use a rainbow to move their gold about…and with this info, so does Finn. When the rainbow disappears, so does the gold, till a new one appears.
As for the leprechauns, they were
heard grumbling at times about how
Finn had outwitted them.Yet they were
secretly pleased as well. For if the
truth be told, they’ve kept their gold
at the end of the rainbow ever since.
Mrs. O’ Finnegan, break out the Irish soda bread! A rogue and rascal like Finn is worth his wage; especially if it brings some peaceful nights of slumber to Dingle.
And how’s this for the perfect dedication for this book? It was written for author Natalie Babbitt of the enchanting “Tuck Everlasting,” who has been hailed by the New York Times as “indisputably one of our most gifted and ambitious authors for children. Great choice for a dedication, Stephen Krensky!
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