With luck, kids will love ‘How to Catch a Leprechaun’

You’re feeling pretty good today.

You’re wearing your favorite shirt and your lucky socks, and they worked! On your way to school, you found a penny and then your teacher made you class leader for the day. Yep, you’re feeling lucky, so you might try to do something no one’s ever done before. If that means you’re going to attempt what’s in “How to Catch a Leprechaun” by Adam Wallace, illustrated by Andy Elkerton, you’ll need all the luck you can get.

Don’t look now, but there’s a Leprechaun outside your house.

He knows you’re after him, but he’s a crafty one. He’s going to tease you with glitter and sparkly things, but he’ll do it when you’re not looking. He’ll paint your toilet, stop up the bathroom and leave a mess everywhere.

You’re going to try trapping him.

But be careful: He’s wise to big mouse — um, Leprechaun traps. They’ll snap at his heels as he runs away fast with shamrocks trailing behind him. A cardboard box with a stick won’t work, either — Leprechauns are too smart for that! And while you’re trying to catch him, he’ll still outsmart you by making mischief and causing trouble.

You can leave him treats like you do with Santa. You can hope he leaves you something like the Easter Bunny does. You can try to trick him like you would at Halloween. But a Leprechaun is much too slick for any of that. He’s been “alive for 200 years.” You think you’re going to fool him after all this time?

He’ll just laugh at you. He’ll “twinkle toes” away with a “fancy pantsy dancy.” Not even an engineer can catch a Leprechaun with a basement-to-attic trap. Not even with the newest computer program or the highest-tech robot. If you’re out to catch a Leprechaun those things. Just. Won’t. Work.

Unless, maybe…

Unless a “brilliant child,” a genius kid might be able to figure out the trick or trap…

Before I read “How to Catch a Leprechaun,” I’d never heard of this pursuit as tradition. It sounds fun, though, now that I know how wily a tiny green guy can be, and Wallace has lots of ideas on how to get the job done.

Leprechauns, apparently, are full of mischief and this book, with its catchy little rhyme, shows children the many ways they bring mayhem to a home. Kids may get a kick out of the challenge here, a nyah-nyah-can’t-catch-me sort of taunt that may spur their desire to try a trap that finally snares the prey. Parents, I think, will enjoy every page of the bright, colorful illustrations by Elkerton — and as you’re reading this story aloud, note that while kids don’t catch a Leprechaun, you’ll never quite catch a full glimpse of one in this book, either.

If a new tradition is what you need in your family, 4- to 8-year-olds will love this one, and they’ll love this tale. Get them “How to Catch a Leprechaun.” It’s a book they’ll feel lucky to have.

View publishes Terri Schlichenmeyer’s reviews of books for children and teens weekly.

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