That's What Leprechauns Do

That's What Leprechauns Do

By Eve Bunting; Emily Arnold McCully (Illustrator)

Clarion Books, Hardcover, 9780618354108, 32pp.

Publication Date: January 2006


The three leprechauns Ari, Boo, and Col have a job to do. They must race to where they’ve buried the pot of gold and dig it up before the rainbow comes. The clouds are already gathering, so there’ll be no time for mischief along the way.

But Mrs. Ballybunion’s cow, Miss Maud Murphy’s hen, and Old Jamie soon find out that the three clever fellows can’t resist having a little fun on the road to Paddywhackers Bog. For, in addition to putting a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, mischief is what leprechauns do!

Delightful illustrations from a Caldecott medalist and a playful text written in a lilting Irish style make this a perfect story for St. Patrick’s Day or any other time of year. Includes an author’s note about leprechauns and rainbows.

About the Author
Eve Bunting was born in Ireland and came to California with her husband and three children. She is one of the most acclaimed and versatile children's book authors, with more than two hundred novels and picture books to her credit. Among her honors are many state awards, the Kerlan Award, the Golden Kite Award, the Regina Medal, the Mystery Writers of America and the Western Writers of America awards, and a PEN International Special Achievement award for her contribution to children's literature. In 2002, Ms. Bunting was chosen to be Irish-American Woman of the Year by the Irish-American Heritage Committee of New York.

I was born in Galesburg, Illinois, in 1939, but grew up in Garden City, New York. My father was a writer/producer of network radio shows, and my mother had been an actress and singer. Noticing that I was trying to draw people and objects, my mother once said to me, "Why don't you practice that and get it right?" She saw a talent to be developed so that I could support myself when I grew up.

As a child, I doodled and sketched and created my own stories, binding them into books. As class artist in school, I designed posters, backdrops, and programs for concerts and plays. I often visited the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and sketched people sitting on benches in Union Square. The city fueled my ambitions for an active life in the arts, theater, and publishing.

I attended Pembroke College (now part of Brown University), majoring in art history and acting in plays. I also collaborated on an award-winning musical. For years, people stood around me as I drew, marveling that I could reproduce someone or something. If art was a performance, I wanted to try out other roles.

After graduation, I worked as a mat cutter in an advertising agency and earned an M.A. in art history at Columbia University. Realizing I had no future in the advertising agency, I put together a portfolio of drawings and took it around to art directors. Gradually, jobs trickled in, mostly for book covers. Finally, an editor at Harper & Row Junior Books spotted a poster I had done that featured children. I received my first book illustration assignment, which led to another, and so on.

Meanwhile, I wrote fiction and published a short story that was selected for the O. Henry Collection. It was followed by two novels. I was able to try acting again when the chance arose to audition for a friend's play. It opened in Albany and moved to Off Broadway in New York. It was a wonderful experience, but I knew I had to go back to books. I have now written or illustrated more than two hundred books for children.

My advice for aspiring artists and writers is this: You can't aim to please other people. Do what matters most to you, then hope readers respond.

I believe that books, rather than be palliative or merely instructive, should stir the imagination. I share Isaac Bashevis Singer's belief that children's books are the last refuge of storytelling.

Emily Arnold McCully divides her time between New York City and upstate New York. She has won many awards for her children's books, including the Caldecott Medal for "Mirette on the High Wire".

Praise For That's What Leprechauns Do

"A good introduction to [Saint Patrick's Day's] wee fairy symbols. Caldecott-winner McCully's sprightly watercolors bring...story to life." KIRKUS Kirkus Reviews

"Bunting offers a kicky...outing here, bringing a dash of modern silliness to her twist on familiar lore." PW Publishers Weekly

"A great read-aloud, this will strike a chord with children who...can't resist a little mischievous fun." BOOKLIST Booklist, ALA

"Charming watercolors...A perfect choice for March story hours, this title can also be enjoyed all year long." SLJ School Library Journal

"Lively ink and watercolor illustrations energize the playful story." Horn Book Guide