Mischief ensues when Sean, a human, accidentally builds his cottage over the home of Brian, a leprechaun.
Brian awakens Sean nightly with his cobbling. Before the man can find him, Brian lulls him back to sleep saying, “Now don’t you be fretting your wee little head. It’s only a cat under the bed.” Good-natured Sean is not fooled, for “[h]is mother had always said that a leprechaun in the house was a fine piece of luck,” and he begins leaving food for Brian. The use of dialect lends flavor to the tale while the gentle cadence makes clear that the prank, while a test, is not malicious. Acrylic and watercolor illustrations in primary colors have the innocent feeling of children’s drawings and depict the growing alliance between the two. When hard times hit, Brian gives Sean first one, then another gold coin to buy food. Tongues wag about Sean’s rumored wealth, and, in an up-tick to the pace, robbers threaten Sean in his home. When they hear a noise, Sean tells them, “It’s only the cat under the bed.” With a bit of leprechaun magic, Brian has become a wildcat—and the image practically leaps off the page!
At the satisfying conclusion of this original tale, the robbers run away leaving Sean and Brian, now friends for life, in peace. ’Tis a grand thing. (Picture book. 4-8)