Review of Liam Maher’s picture book Mr. Topper the Lucky Potbellied Pig

I’m happy to introduce you to Liam Maher a Guardian Angel Author who lives in Ireland.

Liam Maher grew up in the beautiful gardens of Dromoland Castle in County Clare, Ireland. This and the surrounding picturesque countryside coupled with the old beliefs during his boyhood days of leprechauns, ghosts and fairies were to inspire his children’s stories that were to come in later life and originally written for his grandchildren.

As I told Liam in our correspondence, he seems to have led a charmed life. No wonder he writes about Leprechauns and Lucky Pigs.

Liam spends his time gardening, keeping fit, entertaining his grandchildren and searching for leprechauns.

Liam has had three children’s illustrated books published with Reader’s Eden, well received by reviewers, one of which ‘Blue Paint’ received the prestigious EPPIE Award nomination.

His two recently published picture books with GAP are The Golden Daffodils and Mr. Topper the Lucky Potbellied Pig.

Mr. Topper the Lucky Potbellied Pig is illustrated by Vanda Lavar, showing Mr. Topper as a beautiful, sweet-looking pig, wearing a handsome red scarf.

As Janet Ann Collins observed in her review of the book, Mr. Topper the Lucky Potbellied Pig has the flavor of a folk tale, with the narrator sometimes speaking casually to the reader.

Well, at first it doesn’t seem as if Mr. Topper is lucky. He is caught in a blizzard with no owner, no food, and no shelter. He goes in search of “Someone who will pet and pamper me, and feed me whenever I go Oink! Oink!” This is the kind of refrain children love to join in when a story is read to them and it is repeated several times throughout the story. Hoping to find such a person, Mr. Topper has the idea to pass himself off as a lucky pig.

The first two people Mr. Topper approaches, a billionaire man and a billionaire woman, are selfish and stingy. The man reminds me of the villains in the old melodrama movies; I can fairly see him twirling his mustache. The woman looks much nicer than she is. She is more concerned about keeping her carpets clean than in helping a cold and hungry creature.  

Finally Mr. Topper finds a kind woodcutter who takes him in. Their life together is happy until the woodcutter loses his job. And to beat all, the pig gets a tooth ache and has to go to the animal dentist to have his tooth pulled.

Will Mr. Topper be able to come through on his promise of bringing good luck to his human friend?

Now — it appears that Mr. Topper is more clever than lucky — unless you can call getting a tooth ache lucky. He uses his brains to help the woodcutter out of his difficulties.

The ending is fun and very satisfying. Readers 4-8 (especially those who have lost a tooth) will enjoy the surprise ending.

The book is available through these venues:

Guardian Angel Publishing Bookstore and

Disclaimer: I purchased a PDF copy of the book and I have been uninfluenced in my opinion of the story.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rachel DiMaggio
    May 28, 2011 @ 18:30:13

    That is a beautiful cover! What a sweet pig. 🙂


  2. Pam Maynard
    May 28, 2011 @ 19:39:13

    What a great story and great review!
    Let us know if Liam catches a leprechaun. My son built a leprechaun trap for St Patty’s Day. It was quite creative:)
    Thanks for sharing! Happy blogging!


  3. Barbara Bockman
    May 28, 2011 @ 21:54:07

    Rachel, I agree that the cover is beautiful; I especially love the blues. It’s wonderful when the artist can so sucessfully interpret the writer’s intent.

    Pam, I’ll bet Liam would be interested to hear about your son’s leprechaun trap. Did he catch a leprechaun? I’m not sure that we have any in America–maybe.


  4. Liam Maher
    May 29, 2011 @ 10:25:12

    Thank you Barbara for the brilliant review. Also thank you Rachel and Pam for the nice comments.
    Pam, great to hear about your enterprising son and his leprechaun trap. But leprechauns are far too clever to get caught in traps unless you put some shamrock in, it might make a leprechaun feel homesick for his celtic roots.
    But tell your son he might see one if he puts a piece of gold or a small gold object in the garden in the moonlight and watches discreetly. Be prepared to lose your gold for if there’s any leprechauns in the area one will surely come and steal it. So whatever you do you put out your gold wedding ring if you have one. lol
    Barbara there are leprechauns in America, one was spotted in Crichton Alabama a few years ago. People came from everyone to try and see him. It made big news at the time. Don’t believe me? google it and see for yourself!


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