The books were all grouped together under the name of one particular author: Teresa Bateman. (If you click on her name, you'll be taken to a little interview whereupon I discovered that she is - or was? - a librarian as well as an author!)
If you need some books for St. Patrick's Day that are set in Ireland, use appropriate surnames, talk of luck and leprechauns then here you go!
In Harp O'Gold we meet Tom, a wandering Irish minstrel. Tom had a dream when he was younger that he would play for rich and poor alike (but mostly rich) who would fill his cap with gold and he would live a life of fame and fortune by making music. He was very skilled but he had only ever been given access to the poor - and the poor couldn't pay him for his music. One day he meets a "man of very short stature" named Sean O'Dell who offers him a golden harp. Tom knows that this harp will put him in front of royalty and so he accepts O'Dell's offer, only to find that owning a gold harp isn't all that he thought it would be.
Leprechaun Gold is a very sweet story about a poor man named Donald O'Dell who saves a leprechaun's life. As a reward, the leprechaun tries to give O'Dell some gold, but O'Dell doesn't want it - being very content with his current situation. The leprechaun tells him that he will accept the gold one way or another and soon thereafter Donald meets Maureen, a beautiful girl with golden hair "and a heart to match." It's a happily ever after story about contentment and love. I thought the messages this book shared were both exceptional.
Traveling Tom and the Leprechaun is my least favorite in terms of illustrations, which I don't think are very nicely done. However, the story is still interesting. It's just hard for me to work past the pictures. The princess of Ireland needs to get married but she'll only agree to marry a man who can obtain a leprechaun's pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. This is a very tricky businesses and another traveling minstrel, who also goes by the name of Tom, is the only one who manages to get the job done and so wins the princess's hand in marriage. This book feels more like your typical fairy tale and, again, I thought the illustrations so horridly done that I was turned off by this particular title.
My favorite of all of these books by Bateman is Fiona's Luck. It starts out magically and magnificently in the following way:
"Once, luck was as free to be had in Ireland as sunlight, and just as plentiful. It filled the air, and anyone could grab a handful of it as the need arose. This was largely due to the leprechauns, for they made luck like cows made milk."However, then the "big folk" arrived in Ireland and the leprechaun king felt like the humans were soaking up all the luck so he sent his band of leprechauns out to capture all the luck whereupon he kept it locked away in a chest. This way, only he could bestow luck and then only upon those he chose. In the meantime, the people in Ireland were left without any luck at all and were suffering horribly.
Enter: Fiona. She knew that the only way to get any luck was to be gifted it by the leprechauns but she would have to be tricky in order to capture it. So she works a clever plan, convincing people that she had luck until word got back to the leprechaun king that Fiona had some luck. The king was miffed because he certainly hadn't been the one to give it to her and so he calls her into his court to discover how it is that she has been so lucky.
This book is just plain FUN and I enjoyed it very much. It might just have to be put on my Amazon wish list so that we can enjoy it on a yearly basis. This year, however, we're able to enjoy it thanks to our local library. Look for a copy! I think you'll like this one.