The Vanishing Lake

The Vanishing Lake

Meara's Granddad lives by the mysterious lake of Loughareema. Some days it’s full and shimmering, and some days it's completely empty! Grandad has plenty of stories about why it vanishes. Is it mermaids? Narwhals? Giants? Meara doesn't believe any of these stories, but with a little imagination she may eventually discover the ‘real’ reason ...

Awards

Gold Medal Winner - 2021

Independent Publisher Book Award - Winner

World Illustration Awards: Children's Publishing - 2022

Association of Illustrators - Short-listed

Paperback: €9.99
Paperback: 32 pages
Size:258x205 mm
ISBN: 9781788493291

Meara's Grandad lives by the mysterious lake of Loughareema. Some days it’s full and shimmering, and some days it's completely empty! Grandad has plenty of stories about why it vanishes. Is it mermaids? Narwhals? Giants? Meara doesn't believe any of these stories, but with a little imagination she may eventually discover the ‘real’ reason ...

Dive into author-illustrator Paddy Donnelly’s captivating tale, a celebration of a young girl’s determination, a granddad’s wisdom, and the fantastical wonders of the natural world.

Paddy Donnelly

Paddy Donnelly is an Irish author & illustrator living in Belgium. He grew up on the north coast of Ireland, surrounded by mythical stories of giants, magical creatures, and shape-shifting animals—all set in a stunning landscape from another time. All of this prompted his love for nature, animals, the sea, and storytelling. He creates his illustrations digitally, but loves working with a textured, painterly approach. The Vanishing Lake is his debut author-illustrated picture book, based on a real lake close to his childhood home in Ireland. He wishes Pluto were still a planet.

A wonderful read for adults and children alike, as it is a journey of discovery.

Children's Books Ireland

We all really enjoyed this story and its surprise ending. We all gave it 10/10 - Junior Infants, Senior Infants and First Class, Drom NS, Co. Tipperary

Seomra Ranga

A magical melding of myth and science, this adds new layers of imagination to the story of the real Co Antrim lake Loughareema, whose appearance and disappearance may owe much to its chalk bed and unusual drainage pattern, but whose legends are much more intriguing. Ghosts of the drowned and of kelpie spirits have haunted the vanishing lake for centuries but Donnelly, who grew up near the North Antrim coast, creates a whole new web of possible - and impossible - explanations for the erratic behaviour of the lake’s water. When young Meara’s grandad suggests the water has been soaked up by the fleeces of swimming sheep, she sees straight through his story, so he tries a different tack. “The mermaids took the plug out again,” he offers. “Or I suppose it could have been narwhals doing headstands. They poke holes in the lake bed with their horns and all the water drains out.” His theories questioned by his logical granddaughter, Grandad asks: “Do you only believe what you can see?” It’s a question pertinent not just to Donnelly’s story, in which truth may be stranger than fiction, but to most of Ireland’s tourist and heritage sites, where the attractions of the natural landscape are augmented and enriched by the power of the accomplished storyteller

Evening Echo

a captivating tale that celebrates a young girl's determination, a granddad's wisdom, and the fantastical wonders of the natural world

Irish Daily Star

incredibly wonderful … a mysterious, charming, beautifully illustrated tale of natural wonder

Fallen Star Stories

Based on the author’s own childhood memories of a very real vanishing lake, this charming tale is a lovely nod to the Irish folklore with all its magic and mystery. Donnelly’s illustrations portray the remote landscapes of Ire- with beautiful simplicity and vibrancy on every page. The author’s notes on the final pages give the location and science behind the lake that inspired the book so the reader can have their own adventure. This warm and sweet book is the perfect bed-time story. Recommended for all ages

Irish Examiner

one of my absolute favourite books

Milo & Gigi’s Bookshelf

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 

Books for Keeps Mat Tobin, Senior Lecturer in English and Children's Literature, Oxford Brookes University

Teaching Resources: free to view and download

  • Download Activity sheets: A drawing of Meara on the lake bed to colour in

  • Download Activity sheets: Meara is boating on the lake with grandad. Spot 8 differences between the 2 pictures

  • Download Activity sheets: Meara is exploring the lake bottom. Spot 8 differences between the 2 pictures

  • Download Activity sheets: Questions and activities based on The Vanishing Lake

Also by Paddy Donnelly:

Fox & Son Tailers

Go to author page...

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