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Fiona's Luck Paperback – February 1, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A greedy leprechaun king gets his comeuppance at the hands of a clever lass in this plucky Irish folktale. Distressed that free-roaming leprechaun luck was being soaked up by all the "big folk" who had arrived in Ireland, the king of the leprechauns ordered all his people's luck to be gathered and locked in a hidden treasure chest. Alas, they went too far and Ireland suffered its worst luck ever in the form of the potato famine. In short order, a sharp young woman named Fiona hatches a plan to retrieve Irish luck from the leprechauns, a plan that involves outsmarting the wee king with inventive reasoning and a bit of playacting. Bateman's (The Ring of Truth) original story brims with the entertaining hallmarks of folklore and fairytales (e.g., magic, a test of wits, a wish granted). But her wordy writing style often slows the proceedings and may confuse younger readers trying to puzzle out the bargain between Fiona and her leprechaun foil. Murphy's (Boll Weevil Ball) textured mixed-media compositions, in a predominantly dusky palette, keep pace with the action. Freckle-faced Fiona's changeable expressions hint at her scheming and the lively sweet-faced leprechauns flit across the pages. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 5—Using the background of the Irish potato famine, Bateman weaves a tale of Irish history and leprechauns, threads it with optimism, and embroiders it with cleverness and luck. At one time, luck was in abundance in Irelandz—until the leprechaun king got angry at the humans for soaking it all up. Using a spell, he steals it away. The people fall on hard times, and Fiona uses her wits to get it back from the wily king. Murphy's illustrations are richly toned and evocative. Some are spreads, full of color in a folk-art style; on other pages, the smaller spot illustrations highlight the details in the story. Each page is a harmonious blend of artwork and text, which makes the story an engaging read-aloud, and it's also accessible to young readers. Children will love this tale, particularly the facial expressions on Fiona and the small people who surround her, and they'll delight in the young woman's cleverness and quick thinking.—Luella Teuton, Western Kentucky University College of Education, Bowling Green, KY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 0810 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge; New edition (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570916438
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570916434
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #369,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on November 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Before I get into the actual review of this work, please allow me a very short rant. I noted that that a review from Publisher's weekly felt "that the wordy writing style often slows the proceedings and may confuse younger readers trying to puzzle out the bargain between Fiona and her leprechaun foil." Of the many, many absolutely ludicrous statements I have read in Publishers Weekly reviews over the years, this one has to take the cake. It is attitudes such as this that is causing the slow but sure dumbing-down of our children. Now you can ask anyone who knows me and they will assure you that I am certainly not the sharpest knife in the drawer...never have been, but I can well remember being read all of the original fairy tales of the Brother's Grimm, without illustrations, when I was no more than four years old and understood them perfectly. Talk about wordy writing style! No, the problem lies at the feet of extremely lazy adults that do not want to be bothered with reading a story properly to a child. Kids are far, far brighter than many adults of today give them credit for. It is attitudes such as this, attitudes that have been with us a number of years now, that have cause the question of "why Johnnie can't read" to be asked, and is the reason that many high school graduates cannot read above a seventh grade reading level. It is also the reason we have people of such low caliber talking trash at Publishers Weekly; they obviously were not challanged enough as children.

Well thank you for the opportunity to get that out of my system, and now on with the review...

Fiona's Luck, by Teresa Bateman and illustrated by Kelly Murphy was first published in 2007 and there have been precious few books of this quality, both textual and artistic to match it since.
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Format: Hardcover
Once, there was luck floating in the air all over Ireland for anyone to grab when they needed it, thanks to the leprechauns. When humans came, however, the luck stuck to them more than to anyone else and the leprechaun king became worried that there wouldn't be enough luck left for the leprechauns. He sent out his people to collect the luck so he could keep it safe, but they followed his orders too well and collected all the luck, not just the leprechaun luck. There was not a drop of luck to be found in Ireland at all.

Things got very bad. The Irish had no milk, no eggs, and no potatoes. All they had was a woman named Fiona. She wasn't lucky or strong, but she was smart and clever and she found a way to make everyone think she had luck. Rumors flew about Fiona's good fortune and when the leprechaun king heard them, he wanted Fiona's luck for his own.

Thus began the challenge of luck versus wit. The leprechaun king tried to take Fiona's luck and Fiona tried to trick the leprechaun king into releasing the luck for all of Ireland to use again.

Fiona's Luck is a delightful novel for young readers. The pictures are vibrant and well-drawn, with clever details that children will notice. Young children will enjoy looking at the pictures and listening as someone reads Fiona's Luck to them, while slightly older children will enjoy reading the story for themselves.

Bateman keeps the vocabulary in the story simple, but she doesn't talk down to her readers and she doesn't hesitate to use more challenging words such as "trice" or "forfeit" when the story calls for it. Children in the recommended range (4-8 years old) should understand most of the words used, but Fiona's Luck will likely also provide an opportunity to expand their vocabulary slightly.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was on a mission, as a teacher, to find a book for St. Patrick's Day, that had a moral to the story, and was public school appropriate. This was perfect! I realized that there aren't too many of its kind. I needed a book for 1st grade, that I could use for a writing activity (I am lucky because ... ). I know that I will have this book in my library for years to come! I am very pleased with my purchase.
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I remember when Fiona's Luck first came out. One of my fellow librarians and I literally squealed with delight when we saw it. We said, "St. Patrick's Day. Reader's Theatre." And that is exactly what we did. Once a month, she and I did Reader's Theatre with library books at a local bookstore. This was one of the featured books.

Fiona's Luck is a delightful story with a clever twist. I didn't know how Fiona would resolve her problem until she actually resolved it. Not many people can match wits with a Leprechaun King, but Fiona manages admirably.

As wonderful as the story is, the reason we two librarians squealed with delight was the charming artwork. Kelly Murphy (good Irish name!) creates an Ireland that is both realistic and enchanting. Even in the heartbreaking barrenness of the first few pages, magic lurks in the corners. Her use of color and lighting effects for setting mood is masterful.
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Format: Hardcover
Irish-American author Teresa Bateman presents Fiona's Luck, a delightful children's picturebook weaving a fantastic fable of cleverness. When luck vanishes from Ireland - hens give no eggs, cows give no milk, and potatoes rot in the ground - young Fiona deduces that leprechauns have stolen the luck of the Irish, and improvises a plan to get their attention and restore luck to the people, using her own knowledge of leprechaun law. Though Fiona acknowledges the value of luck, she chooses to depend upon her wits first and foremost, in this charming original story, beautifully illustrated by artist Kelly Murphy.
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