Fiona's Luck book cover image

Fiona’s Luck

  • 795

By: Teresa Bateman / Illustrated by: Kelly Murphy

You make your own luck.

Once upon a time in Ireland, the luck of the leprechauns roamed free across the land. There was plenty of it, too. But when the big people began to soak it up, the leprechaun king took his luck and left Ireland with nothing but want.

However, one very clever girl named Fiona sought to outsmart even the powerful magic of the leprechaun king. Through a series of tests that challenged her wits, Fiona proved she had no luck at all. For her troubles, she was given a wish for the exact value of her luck—nothing. Though it wasn’t much, nothing was all she needed to restore luck to the land and put the sparkle back in the Emerald Isle.

With a playful text and enchanting illustrations, lucky readers young and old will be charmed by Fiona’s wit and tenacity.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Teresa Bateman, author

Teresa Bateman was born in Moscow, Idaho, but moved to Washington State when she was three-years-old and that's where she has lived most of her life.

An avid writer and reader, Teresa has been making up stories and poems since she was in grade school. She is the author of Fiona's Luck, The Frog with the Big Mouth, and several other books for children. Teresa lives in Tacoma, Washington.

Read more about Teresa.

Kelly Murphy, illustrator

Kelly Murphy is the illustrator of Good Babies (Candlewick), Dancing Matilda (Harper), and Boll Weevil Ball (Holt), which she also wrote. She lives in Attleboro, Massachusetts.

Read more about Kelly.

Awards & Honors:

  • 2008 Storytelling World Award
  • Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year, 2008
  • A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book, 2007
  • Show Me Readers Award (preliminary list), 2008
  • Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Awards (nomination), 2010

Editorial Reviews:


After a jealous leprechaun king steals all the luck, brave Fiona plots ways to outsmart him in order to get her people back some much needed luck of their own. A great story for both girls and boys about standing up to someone who is wrong, no matter how powerful.

Children's Literature

Is it better to be lucky or clever? ‘Tis a question that is asked over and over again, and here it is, once more, in a delightful tale. Long ago luck was free and plentiful in Ireland. When the big folk arrived in that country, they soon soaked up the luck, leaving little for the leprechauns. The leprechaun king would not stand for that and so he ordered all the luck to be gathered and hidden away. The big folk in Ireland soon ran out of eggs and milk, and "the potatoes rotted in the ground." Bring on a spunky heroine who has her wits about her and cleverly challenges the leprechaun king and you have a delightful original story reminiscent of the duels between humans and leprechauns in the traditional folktales of Ireland. Murphy captures the greens, browns, and golds of the Irish countryside in her softly muddied palette, while the leprechaun king's throne room glistens in jewel tones. The mountains, sheep, cottages, and stone walls form the background for the scenes of the "big people" at work, and the little people can be seen hiding behind stumps and sheep and other objects. Fiona's body language and facial expressions are just right for this tale of a battle of wits. It is perfect for a St. Patrick's Day story hour and just plain fun for the rest of the year. Lucky the children who read this cleverly composed story.

Kirkus Reviews

Like her Leprechaun Gold (1998), Bateman's latest exudes Irish flair. In this story, the leprechaun king, distraught because the newly arrived "big folk" have begun to soak up too much luck, has the leprechauns gather up all the luck they can find and lock it away in an oak chest so that he may distribute it as he pleases. With all the luck of the land under the control of the leprechaun king, the big folk suffer many hardships-until a clever woman named Fiona tricks him into putting a hole in the oak chest so that a steady stream of luck pours forth once again into the Irish air for all to share. Children will delight in the cunning way that Fiona triumphs over the leprechaun king, as well as in the rhythmic language of this well-told tale. Using acrylic, watercolor and gel medium, Murphy creates simple, angular figures and soft, rich backgrounds, a combination that perfectly accentuates the folksy charisma of Bateman's story. (Picture book. 5-9)

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.)


Download the Cover


ISBN: 978-1-57091-643-4

ISBN: 978-1-60734-036-2 PDF
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 4-7
Page count: 32
8 1/2 x 11

If you like this book, you’ll enjoy these:
Paper Lanterns
The Market Bowl
Kindergarten Day USA and China