Fiona's Luck by Teresa Bateman, illustrated by Kelly Murphy, Charlesbridge, 2007. Preschool to Early Elementary.
I remember when Fiona's Luck first came out. One of my fellow librarians and I literally squealed with delight when we saw it. We said, "St. Patrick's Day. Reader's Theatre." And that is exactly what we did. Once a month, she and I did Reader's Theatre with library books at a local bookstore. This was one of the featured books.
Fiona's Luck is a delightful story with a clever twist. I didn't know how Fiona would resolve her problem until she actually resolved it. Not many people can match wits with a Leprechaun King, but Fiona manages admirably.
As wonderful as the story is, the reason we two librarians squealed with delight was the charming artwork. Kelly Murphy (good Irish name!) creates an Ireland that is both realistic and enchanting. Even in the heartbreaking barrenness of the first few pages, magic lurks in the corners. Her use of color and lighting effects for setting mood is masterful.