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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 2006 Reed Business Information.