Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 8, 2021

Book Giveaway: THE VANISHING LAKE by Paddy Donnelly

Paddy Donnelly has written and illustrated a new picture book, THE VANISHING LAKE, published by Yeehoo Press. It is available in bookstores onn April 20th and available now for pre-ordered. Yeehoo Press has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Paddy.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


A captivating tale that celebrates a young girl’s determination, a granddad’s wisdom, and the fantastical wonders of the natural world and a bit of imagination.

Something mysterious is happening at Lake Loughareema. There are days the lake is beautiful, shimmering, and full. And then there are other days when it’s . . . empty!
Meara asks her granddad WHY the water disappears, but every time he blames far-fetched culprits: Narwals! Mermaids! Giants!

Unsatisfied, Meara sets out to uncover the truth for herself. Little does she know the answer is much larger than she realizes, and it’ll take stepping back and opening her eyes to the impossible to discover the lake’s magic.

This picture book from debut author illustrator Paddy Donnelly publishes in the US on April 20.


The story is about a little girl called Meara who goes to visit her Grandad who lives by a lake, which disappears and reappears for no apparent reason. She constantly asks her Grandad why it happens and each time he has a more extravagant and unbelievable reason for her. Meara won’t believe any of his stories, so she sets out to find the ‘real’ reason.

The story is actually based on a real place, close to where I grew up in Ballycastle in Ireland. It’s a lake called Loughareema which actually does disappear and reappear every few days, depending on the weather. When you grow up with a wonder like this on your doorstep, you definitely take it for granted, and I hadn’t really thought about it in years.

I was brainstorming a few different story ideas and it somehow popped into my head. Ithought the title itself was intriguing and then I set off to come up with a story around that. I thought the mystery of ‘why’ the lake would disappear and reappear could be interesting to drive the story, and then setting the character up to be unwilling to believe these reasons, spurred myself on to come up with crazier and crazier ones. That’s how the story started with me and it developed from there.

When it comes to creating my own author illustrated stories, I tend to have both the images and words appearing in my head at once. Often one single illustration I’ve created, or even just a rough sketch of something can spark an entire storyidea, and then I start writing and sketching in tandem. It’s a messy process with a lot of back and forth!

Sometimes, I’ll have an idea for a certain scene, situation, or character that I’d love to draw and I try to work that into my story if it fits. And other times as I’m buried in the writing, the illustration will have to completely change. I wanted to have the natural world shine through in the artwork, using a lot of vibrant colour schemes. It would take a lot of inspiration from the Irish landscape, but also with a little bit of fantasy world built in. The mix between imaginary worlds and the real worldis a key element in this story, however it’s very difficult to see where one begins and one ends.

The publisher, Yeehoo Press, wanted to publish the story in both English and Chinese, and it was released in China last year! It absolutely feels extra special as my debut story is based on something so close to my hometown. You’ll only ever have one ‘first’ story published, so the fact that mine will always have this connection to home is amazing.

And some other news to share – my second author illustrated picture book, Dodo’s Aren’t Extinct, will be coming in Spring 2022 with Yeehoo Press, which I’m super excited about!


Paddy Donnelly is an Irish author and illustrator of picture books, originally from Ireland and now based in Belgium. He works in a range of illustration styles and was shortlisted for the World Illustration Awards in 2018 and the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards in 2020.

With over 14 years experience as an illustrator and designer, he now gets to make a living drawing dinosaurs and his 5 year old self is very happy about this. Beside illustrating kids books, he illustrates all sorts of other things. He has a range of iOS apps for kids, Wee Taps and wishes Pluto was still a planet.

I’m from Ireland, and have been living in Belgium for the last 12 years. Storytelling is a huge part of life in Ireland, so I was surrounded by myths and legends from a young age and I think that’s had a big influence on me and my work. Rough seas, rugged coastlines, islands and mountains are all things I absolutely love to illustrate. That definitely comes from growing up surrounded by stunning scenery. It’s something I’ve come to appreciate
so much more after moving away.

Drawing was something I loved as a child, and reading too. I didn’t draw for a good few years – during my teens and at university – and then I started to get into illustration after working as a web designer for a number of years. Picking it up again has been so much fun, and there are definitely things I enjoy drawing now that I remember loving to draw as a child. Animals, especially birds, foxes, rabbits, made up maps and islands, dinosaurs. And
now all these years later I get to do this for a living!

Illustrating picture books wasn’t really something I had seriously considered before, but I started to look into more and more around the end of 2017. I started expanding my illustration portfolio to include a lot more children’s illustration. I signed up with my illustration agent at the beginning of 2018 and they’ve been super at securing me amazing book projects. I’ve been focusing on illustrating for picture books now for over three years, and I’m loving it! I’m learning so much with each book I work on and really enjoy working in the publishing industry.

I’ve had six picture books published so far, with a few more to be released later this year, and have worked on a number of book covers too. I’ve illustrated mostly for other authors’ stories so far, but more recently I’ve begun to write my own. My debut author illustrated picture book, The Vanishing Lake, will be published on April 20 2021, which is really exciting!

Social media links:
Pre-order The Vanishing Lake:
Barnes and Noble:


Paddy, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. Everyone loves a mystery, especially children, and what could be more mysterious than a lake that vanishes. It grabbed my interest right away. Your colorful illustrations are wonderful. I know the combination of the story, your art, and the informative back matter will keep children and adults returning to the book over and over again. Good luck getting it out in the world.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. This book sounds wonderful and so magical. Will likely buy a copy if I don’t win one!

    I subscribe to this blog and I posted on Twitter.


  2. his book looks wonderful -both intriguing and fun! Congrats!


  3. This book looks gorgeous! What a great concept too… can’t wait to read! Been a W & I subscriber for years now…


  4. What a fun story and the illustrations are beautiful. It’s on my TO READ list for sure!


  5. I can’t wait to read this one!


  6. You had me at the title! So mysterious. Gorgeous illustrations, too. Congratulations, Paddy!!

    I subscribe and tweeted.


  7. My daughter’s name is Meara, so I had no choice but to pre-order this book!


  8. What an intriguing book! Congratulations, Paddy!


  9. This looks like a terrific story, one that kids will especially love. Thanks for the post. I subscribe by email to your posts.


  10. This book is unique and very creative. I can’t wait to read it. Congratulations! I’m an email subscriber and shared on Facebook, pinterest, tumblr, and twitter:


  11. Thanks for sharing the backstory of THE VANISHING LAKE. I’m amazed by how lively the water appears in your illustrations. (I shared on Twitter.)


  12. I love the mystery aspect of this story and the digital illustrations are so light and beautiful. I’d love to have a copy.
    I’ve tweeted a link:, and shared an image with a link too:
    I also follow your blog daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com.
    Thanks, have a great day!


  13. My great-great grandmother is from County Kerry. I’ve never been to Ireland, but would love to go sometime down the road. We raised sheep on the farm when I was small, and I the illustration of the waterlogged sheep continues to make me smile. I’ll be adding this one to my library. Cheers!


  14. Congrats, Paddy! This looks beautiful. (I’m signed up for the emails, too.)


  15. This looks beautiful. Magic and imagination


  16. Looks wonderful!


  17. What an original idea for a story! And I love the grandfather’s “explanations.” This looks like an amazing book. (Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.)


  18. I love this book! I’ve read a copy and it is enchanting. Paddy is visiting my blog on the book birthday, April 20. 🙂

    I follow by email, Kathy, and I will tweet this. Thanks for sharing with us!


  19. This book looks fun!


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