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Read Aloud Thursday–St. Patrick’s Day Edition

Let me be the first to say that St. Patrick’s Day is actually not a holiday that is usually even on my radar.  Although I am sure I must have at least a little bit of Irish blood flowing through my veins, I just consider myself plain old American.  However, I couldn’t pass by the bright green on the book display conveniently located right by the front door at one of our libraries, so we’ve been reading some fun St. Patrick’s Day books.  The girls have really enjoyed them, and so have I.  This post highlights the best of the bunch.

What caught my eye about St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning is the fact that is is illustrated by Jan BrettAs we learned for Valentine’s Day, she and author Eve Bunting are a winning combination, so I had to bring this book home(It also turns out that Eve Bunting was born in Ireland, which I only recently learned from this excellent shamrock post at Brimful Curiosities.)  St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning is the sweet story of  a little boy, Jamie Donovan, who remembers upon awakening that his village’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is that very day.  Declared too small to participate in the parade by his parents and older brothers, Jamie strikes out to prove himself by walking the entire parade route.  Everyone in his home is still asleep, so they are ignorant of his plan.  He meets and greets lots of villagers on his way up Acorn Hill.  Listeners get a taste of the lilting Irish speech pattern (if the reader can pull it off!) and life in a small Irish village.  Jamie completes his trek  makes it back home before anyone else is up.  This is a gentle story, and the illustrations are done primarily in black, white, and green.  This would be a perfect preschool introduction to St. Patrick’s Day.
The Last Snake in Ireland:  A Story about St. Patrick by Sheila MacGill-Callahan caught my eye, well, because I thought it would be nice to read a book about St. Patrick since I don’t even know much about him or the real holiday.  This book is about St. Patrick, but instead of it focusing on the real St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, it focuses on one of the many legends surrounding him:  that he drove the snakes out of Ireland.  In this story, there is one particularly recalcitrant snake, and St. Patrick must use all of his wits to outsmart him.  I actually thought the snake was a little bit creepy, but my girls liked the story (Will Hillenbrand‘s illustrations make it look particularly diabolical).  We didn’t accomplish my goal of learning something substantial about St. Patrick, but the girls were entertained.
This last story was by far our favorite.  Tim O’Toole and the Wee Folk by Gerald McDermott is just a fun, fun folktale.  Poor Tim O’Toole is a downtrodden fellow who, in addition to being poor, is considered bad luck by his neighbors.  Finally, at the insistence of his wife, Tim sets out to find a job.  What he finds instead is a whole pack herd group of leprechauns.  These leprechauns give Tim a goose capable of laying golden eggs, but poor Tim loses it to a wily couple with whom he spends the night on his way home.  This same scenario plays out a few times with every gift the leprechauns give him, until finally, they come to his rescue.  My girls really got the humor in this book, and it’s a much requested title here at the House of Hope these days.  Gerald McDermott’s text is fun to read and his illustrations are perfect.  It turns out that he’s a Caldecott Medal-winning artist.  You can read more about him on his colorful website

Other than reading these books (and a few others), we don’t really have any plans for St. Patrick’s Day.  Well, actually, I hope we can make these cupcakes, which look a lot like the beautiful cake I first saw at Lifenut but still haven’t gotten around to making.  This year it is, Lord willing!

On a related note, Carrie (of Reading to Know and Reading My Library fame) highlighted some St. Patrick’s Day books over at 5 Minutes for Books a few weeks back.  Check it out!

On a somewhat unrelated note, check out Jan Brett’s website!  She has a new Easter book out, and she’s going full-steam-ahead to promote it!  Don’t miss this contest–how neat would it be to own an Easter egg painted by Jan Brett?!?!?  (And yes, I do realize that I tell you this at the risk of decreasing my chance of winning!  ;-)  )  One more thing:  don’t miss her tour schedule, either.  I’d love to try to make one of the Tennessee events, but I’m not sure that we can swing it with next week’s schedule.  If we do, I’ll be sure to share the details!  :-)

Okay, enough of the PSAs.  It’s time for you to share what you’ve been reading together as a family!  Either leave a blog link by clicking on the MckLinky link below, or simply share in the comments.  Don’t forget, there’s a button, too!

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Happy Read Aloud Thursday!

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10 Responses

  1. I have been meaning to check out Eve Bunting’s St. Patrick’s Day book, now I am even more inspired.

  2. Oo. Jan Brett has one! Ahhh!

    I am woefully behind in life this week. I’m just kinda declaring this an “off week” in the children’s book department. Trying to wrap up so many projects and get things under control again. I’ll be back up and around next week – I purpose that! Bah!

    Thanks for the link! =)

  3. I was going to try to make a leprechaun trap with my kids this week, but we haven’t made it to the library to pick up any books with leprechauns. Will certainly try to find a copy of Tim O’Toole and the Wee Folk.

    Jan Brett’s new Easter Egg book is so amazingly detailed…we won a copy for my daughter’s school through one of her contests. Seems lately her website is one to watch!

  4. These look good, Amy. Our favorite St Paddy book is ‘Jamie O’Rourke and the big Potato.’ (Tomie dePaola)

    I second what Carrie said: I’m woefully behind in life too this week. And my computer’s out for repairs. Hopefully I’ll be back in next week.

  5. So far we read “Hooray for St Patrick’s Day” – a flap book for toddlers. Strangely, daughter quite liked it since she could mostly read it herself. I am mostly celebrating St Patrick’s Day by highlighting a tiny Ireland in our country hops next week. By the way, the story mentioned the fact about snake explulsion, and Anna asked, “If Ireland is an island, where did the snakes go? Can they swim?”

  6. We’ll start into our St. Patrick’s Day books this weekend, but I don’t think I checked out any of the titles you listed – I suppose it’s too late now, but they do look cute.

  7. I need to start linking up to you! I found you through Mouse Grows Mouse
    Learns.

    It’s so fun to hear and gain insight from other reading moms.

  8. Carrie sent me over!

    I love that someone else also tends to forget this holiday. Like you, I probably have a bit of Irish in me, but don’t celebrate it.

    Congrats on your upcoming baby! I look forward to reading more with you!

  9. [...] just wanted to post a quick follow-up to my St. Patrick’s Day post in which I declared that we would be making this cake or these cupcakes today.    I opted for the [...]

  10. [...] her out at other times during the year (although we did have a books for Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day that she illustrated).  Unlike these holiday books, Berlioz the Bear is illustrated in the way [...]

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