HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Leprechaun in Late Winter
Author: Mary Pope Osborne
Publisher: Random House, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-85650-1 (trade)
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-95650-8 (library binding)
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-89466-4 (e-book)
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 7-12
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Osborne, Mary Pope. Leprechaun in Late Winter (published in 2010 by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House Inc., New York City, NY). What would be the first thing that you would look for if you went to old Ireland? Might it be a leprechaun? In this book #43 of the “Magic Tree House” series, Jack and Annie travel back to nineteenth-century Ireland. Their mission for Merlin is to inspire a young girl named Augusta to share her creative talents with the world by telling Irish legends and folklore. However, when they find Augusta, she seems to be the least exciting and most unimaginative person they’ve ever met.
Augusta is a nice girl who likes helping others but appears to be very unhappy. Her old nursemaid Mary Sheridan says that the girl used to love hearing the old stories, but when she couldn’t find the Shee (or Si, the Irish name for the fairy folks) she just gave up. Jack and Annie try to help Augusta with the magic whistle and give her a glimpse into the astonishing hidden world, but their plan backfires, Augusta disappears, and Jack and Annie must follow a leprechaun named Willy into the great unknown to rescue their friend. Will they find her? Can they escape the wrath of the fairies? Will they complete their mission?
Augusta turns out to be Isabella Augusta Persse, Lady Gregory (1852-1932), a famous Irish poet and playwright who helped to preserve the old Irish stories and legends. In previous books, Jack and Annie have assisted Louis Armstrong, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Leonardo da Vinci. In the next book, they will encourage Charles Dickens. Some people may object to the elements of magic and mythology in the stories, but if those parts are understood to be simply fiction, the historical information in the books is very interesting and informative. I do prefer the ones that are primarily historical rather than mainly mythical. This one would likely be of special interest to those of Irish ancestry.