Friday, March 9, 2007

Count Down to St. Patrick's Day

I love St. Patrick's Day, as an Irish Catholic, it is MY holiday - and who doesn't like tales about leprechauns and pots full of gold (not to mention some bangers and mash and a pint of Guinness!)

This week I started reading to some of my classes an Irish folk tale by Tomie dePaola, Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato. My students love this tale of ol' Jamie O'Rourke, the "laziest man in Ireland". When Jamie's wife injures herself and can't dig up the potatoes for the winter, Jamie rushes off to confession, sure that he is about to meet his demise from hunger and he stumbles upon a leprechaun. The leprechaun, smarter then Jamie, offers him a potato seed instead of giving him his gold, promising Jamie that the potato seed will give him the biggest potato he has even seen. When his bed-ridden wife hears of the potato seed, she thinks he is a fool for accepting it, instead of getting a hold of the leprechaun’s gold, but Jamie plants it anyways and what do you know, a potato the size of a house grows up out of the ground. There is some deliberation by Jamie and the townspeople as to how to get the potato out of the ground and then with an idea from Jamie's wise wife, the potato somehow seems to save the day, for Jamie and his wife, while making everyone else in town SICK of potatoes (I though everyone in Ireland was sick of potatoes!)

Jamie also appears in another one of dePaola's books, Jamie O'Rourke and the Pooka and another Irish folk tale from dePaola is Fin M'Coul the Giant of Knockmany Hill.

Next week I will be reading to my younger students a cute little St. Patrick's Day story by Eve Bunting (a native of Ireland) called St. Patrick's Day in the Morning. Another tale in which the main character is named Jamie (must be a popular nickname in Ireland). Jamie is the youngest of 3 boys and he wants to be in the towns St. Patrick's Day Parade, but he has been told that he is too young. So he gets up early and stages his own parade through the town as the town wakes up.

In the past when I have read this book to my kids classes (as a mom) and I have made Irish soda bread (I have a great recipe from my family that is a little sweeter than most, and I sometimes add chocolate chips instead of raisins) and I pass out little Irish flags. This year with my students I think I will just have the Irish Flag on display and if it gets cold enough I will wear my Irish sweater from Ireland, just like Jamie in the book. I also play some Irish music in the background while the students are checking out books.

Erin Go Bragh! (that means Ireland Forever!)

1 comment:

Jone said...

This sounds like a fun time. I love the dePaolo books. I hope you don't mind, I added you to my blogroll at