There is a little bit of magic associated with the lake near the home of Meara’s grandfather. Without any warning, its waters simply disappear and then reappear days later. To satiate Meara’s curiosity about this phenomenon, her grandfather gently teases her with stories of mermaids unplugging the lake and sheep soaking up the waters with their wool. But these fantastical answers to this riddle are not enough for his resourceful granddaughter, instead, Meara decides to solve the mystery through science and investigation. The answer though might not be what Meara is expecting…
Digitally illustrated with rich, warm swathes of green and blues, Donnelly makes the most of the double-page spreads to celebrate this idyllic, Irish locale. As Meara explores the lake floor with a magnifying glass, Donnelly presents lush, green vistas with deep clouds and expansive spaces. Animals, both fantastical and real dot the frame and landscape and children will be drawn in by these visitors to mythical scenes.
What is especially lovely though is granddad’s fanciful yarns about why the water has vanished and whether the truth of the story lands on the magic of granddad’s side or Meara’s science. A narrative play that will keep young readers hooked until the end.
I particularly liked the information text at the back in which Donnelly shares the story’s origin based around a real lake he visited as a child in his home county in Ireland in which the water really did drain away. A fantastical delight and one that will be better shared.