The Pooka Party

The Pooka Party

A madcap tale of what to do if you feel sad and lonely, starring one shapeshifting hero with some musical monsters, flying cakes and a guest appearance by the Moon.


Honour List - 2020

IbBy - Winner

The World Through Picture Books - 2021

IFLA - Commended


Children's Book of the Year (Junior) - 2018

Irish Book Awards - Short-listed

Junior Book Award - 2019

Literacy Association of Ireland - Short-listed

Hans Christian Andersen Honour List - Illustration - 2020

IbBy - Short-listed

Paperback: €9.99
Paperback: 32 pages
Size:280x220 mm
ISBN: 9781788492775

The Pooka is a magical shapeshifter who lives in the mountains all alone; fixing things, painting, dancing and singing. Suddenly, none of this seems fun any more, the Pooka realises that its lonely and hasn't seen its friends in ages!

After having some time to think, the Pooka decides to throw a big party and invite all of its friends. Join the Pooka as it attempts to throw the Pooka party of the century in this fun and beautifully illustrated picture book.

'A madcap tale of what to do if you feel sad and lonely, starring one shapeshifting hero with some musical monsters, flying cakes and a guest appearance by the Moon.' - Belfast Telegraph

Shona Shirley Macdonald

Shona Shirley Macdonald is an award-winning illustrator/author, originally from Scotland and now living by the sea in County Waterford. Her other illustrated titles include An Féileacán agus an Rí written by Máire Zepf, which won the Gradam Réics Carló (Book of the Year for Young Readers), and The Moon Spun Round: W.B. Yeats for Children, edited by Noreen Doody. She has also exhibited her work throughout Ireland in both solo and group shows, and internationally at the Bratislava Illustration Biennial. The Pooka Party was chosen for the 2020 IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) Honor List and shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards 2018 – Children’s Book of the Year (Junior), and the Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year 2019.

a beautiful book for very young children about what to do when you feel sad or lonely

Tuam Herald

such a cute book. I absolutely adore The Pooka … A really lovely story that is super to read aloud and is full of fascinating and stunning illustrations that will give you plenty to talk about

Shelley Fallows

With spirals, twirls and double spreads, there is an inventiveness, a boldness and a vibrant visual blend of text and illustration in this engaging story of the pooka. The non-gender pooka is a shapeshifter, suddenly faced with its aloneness and loneliness. The illustration style is as wild and unruly as the pooka itself. The story is touchingly told with minimal text, leaving us with a satisfying sense of show rather than tell.

Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards Shortlist

Macdonald’s art is what stands out in this story – her fantastical creatures are dynamic, quirky and will spark the imagination of little readers … The night-time ending is a symphony of purples, greys and blues that are sure to evoke bedtime calm in little ones

Inis Magazine, January 2019 issue

there is such a wealth of quality Irish-produced books this year and The Pooka Party by Shona Shirley Macdonald is no exception. A delightful story of being lonely and then belonging, accompanied by magical images

Sunday Independent

thoroughly captivating … beautifully composed and colourful scenes … beautiful and strange but beguiling

Books for Keeps

brought to life by Macdonald's exquisite illustrations which are packed full of details and are so enchanting they practically dance off the page

Irish Independent

For anyone feeling a bit lonely and isolated indoors, especially for 4+, The Pooka Party will lift your spirits and encourage you to throw a party and invite your friends around for sparkly soup!


a number of beautifully composed and carefully coloured scenes each of which deepen the reader’s sense of being in a fairy other-world

Books for Keeps

the simple story is brought to life by Macdonald’s exquisite illustrations which are so packed full of details, and so enchanting, they practically dance off the page. Her night-time colour palette – shimmering silver, midnight blue, mossy green – is a treat for the eyes and don’t miss her tiny fish riding bicycles. A picture book maker with an exciting future ahead of her

Irish Independent

for the youngest of thrill-seekers … a visual feast, including some of the most gorgeous and gruesome looking cupcakes you will ever see

Irish Times

a perfect (and pretty lovely) book for Hallowe’en and the windy nights of October … magical and beautifully illustrated story

RTE Guide

inspiring and magical … outstanding artwork and good fun

Irish Examiner

a delightful and whimsical romp of a story.  Beautifully illustrated throughout … the book would certainly stand many readings as the stunning illustrations are so detailed … it’s the illustrations that make this book really special


beautifully illustrated … a madcap tale of what to do if you feel sad and lonely, starring one shapeshifting hero with some musical monsters, flying cakes and a guest appearance by the Moon

Belfast Telegraph

eyecatching picture book with an appealing message about the power of friendship

Evening Echo

beautifully illustrated, this is a delightful and unusual story about friendship

Parents in Touch

An ethereal little story about the mystical Pooka … I feel sure this will not be the last we hear about the captivating Pooka. This surreal mix of fantastical goings on is accompanied by dreamy illustrations. Young children from the earliest ages will happily be transported to Pooka’s land even if they don’t understand the text. The pictures tell the story. Older children will enjoy the moral of the tale. An ideal bedtime story for all. A delightful little tale

Armadillo Magazine

this story is an absolute dream of fantasy and folklore and it’s such a sweet take on the pooka myth. I’m sure we’ve all planned epic parties where we’ve dreaded nobody turning up, thankfully it turned out well for the pooka in this story. I adore the illustration in this book, there’s so much detail and the colours used make this feel magical and other-worldly. It’s an absolutely beautiful book to look at and (as you can tell from some crumpled pages) Milo and Gigi have really enjoyed this book too. I particularly enjoy the riotous party pages! There are so many details to spot. I loved folklore tales as a child and I love this modern tale, keeping these creatures alive for future generations.

Milo and Gigi’s Bookshelf

In Ireland we are so lucky to come from an island of storytellers, with endless ancient tales for all ages. For our youngest readers aged 4+, The Pooka Party by Shona Shirley Macdonald is a magical tale, filled with captivating and intricate illustrations of the shapeshifting Pooka’s party and their attempts at making friends

RTEJr Book Club

Also by Shona Shirley Macdonald:

The Book of Secrets
The Moon Spun Round

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