When Don G. Ford offered me the opportunity to select one of his children's books to review it seemed obvious to me straight away which one I would select. I am a believer in inspiring the imagination of children, creating amazing tales of wonder and magic, which also means fostering the belief in fairies at the bottom of the garden, the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny and so on.
My own book series is based on the realm of possibility that aliens do happily exist amongst us, (even very small mischievous ones.)
Couple this with my intrigue for Irish folk lore and I was immediately drawn to Don's story "My Best Friend is a Leperechaun."
I found this book irresistible!
Don G. Ford begins this book with a prologue to expose the readers mind to the idea of the existance of mythical creatures. He even includes a short story about an Irish woman who believed she had truely met a Leprechaun. The prologue is quite informative and a great discussion starter, perfect for the late Primary School age group to debate the question of reality verses legend. Do you have to see something to believe it exists?
To the uninitiated, knowledge is an appreciated commodity, therefore also included before the story begins are the author's notes presenting valuable background information to Ireland, her folk lore and of cause Leprechauns. So any youngster reading the book for the first time, not knowing anything about Irish myths and legends are given critical information on the Irish belief of exactly what a Leprechaun actually is.
Finally the magic begins at the end of the rainbow, exactly where you would anticipate finding a Leprechaun. Immediate suspense enthrals the reader with the Leprechaun being in imminent danger. Twists and turns take the reader on a wonderful journey into the life of the Leprechauns teaching us several morals along the way before reaching an gripping climax.
The Leprechauns teach the main character, (Big John), valuable life lessons such as true kindness, the importance of friendship and family and that a sense of "home" can arise in the most unexpected of places. Home is after all, where the heart is and a sense of love and belonging can be the greatest treasure of them all.
"My Best Friend is a Leprechaun" is a delightful tale to read with classroom students or an easy independent reader for ages 8-10 year olds.
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