Leapin' Leprechauns: Too Many Leprechauns by Steven Krensky
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 it turns out that a rogue and a rascal is just what the town of Dingle needs. Finn O'Finnegan has had enough of life in the big city and returns to his mother's board and bed, hoping for no more than plenty of her soda bread and a bit of loafing.
But things are amiss down in Dingle. The farmer is feeding the cow her own milk, and the hen is offered her own fresh eggs sunny side up for breakfast. Why are all the folks' wits so fried?
It seems that Dingle is awash in green--in the form of a colony of immigrant leprechauns which has taken over the town and is growing rich and plump from the footwear trade. Gold is rolling in and the leprechauns are running three shoe making shifts a day, and all that tapping from tiny hammers is keeping the regular citizens awake 24/7. Something must be done. Finn has to find a way to out-source the wee shoemakers or he can kiss his mam's delicious soda bread goodbye.
Suffice it to say that that rascal Finn indeed tricks the green-clad tricksters themselves into believing that he has stolen their gold away and is holding it ransom until they relocate their manufacturing to another site. There's even a lovely rainbow at the foot of which that gold can be stashed, and before you know it, Finn's well-rested Mam is in the kitchen stirring up a batch of soda bread for her darling boy and, just as you knew it would be,
LEPRECHAUNS HAVE KEPT THEIR GOLD AT THE END OF THE RAINBOW EVER SINCE.
Stephen Krensky, the holiday-meister of children's lit has in his Too Many Leprechauns: Or How That Pot o' Gold Got to the End of the Rainbow, (Simon & Schuster) a funny St. Patrick's Day story that hits all the marks, ably assisted by the lovely green-paletted oil paintings of illustrator Dan Andreason, who offers up all the thatched cottages and stone-walled Irish greensward anyone could want in a story for March 17--or any other day when you want to feel lucky.
And if it be a tale of a lucky lass ye be wantin', then don't miss Fiona's Luck (Charlesbridge). In this one, it's the native Irish leprechauns who feel pressured by the immigrant humans. When the Leprechaun King decides to drive the people out by locking up all the luck in old Eire, the ensuing potato famine and other disasters do indeed convince a lot of the human population to move away, until the feisty Fiona comes along to outdo the leprechaun lot with her quick wit.
Other treasured tales for the wearin' o' the green include Lorna Balian's evergreen Leprechauns Never Lie, Eve Bunting's golden classic, That's What Leprechauns Do, and Henry Cole's magical The Leprechaun's Gold.