"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
(1 Jn 4:16)

Friday, February 26, 2010

March Picture Book Basket

I know that there are other things, besides St. Patrick's feast day, that happen during March (and a few of the books below reflect that); however, since we are part Irish, we enjoy immersing ourselves in the delightful, and sometimes sad, Irish picture books that are available on our shelves and at the the library.  Some of the picture books that we will be reading this month are listed below.

Fin M'Coul: The Giant of Knockmany Hill by Tomie de Paola
My boys really like this Irish folktale in which Finn outwits his giant rival, Cucullin, with help from his wife Oonagh.
Good Saint Joseph by Father Lovasik, S.V.D.* (March 19)
Father Lovasik chronicles St. Joseph's life as the foster father of Jesus in simple and easy to understand words.  He also shares some short prayers that can be said to the Holy Family, and why St. Joseph is the protector of families and the protector of the Church.

Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie de Paola
My children love Jamie O'Rourke and I like that they can learn from his mistakes.  When Jamie's wife injures her back, lazy Jamie has to figure out a way to feed himself.  He catches a leprechaun and that's when his troubles begin.

Tomie de Paola's Jamie O'Rourke and the Pooka is equally appealing to my children and will also be read this month.

Katie's Wish by Barbara Shook Hazen
Katie wishes that potatoes would disappear.  Shortly afterwards, the Irish potato famine begins and Katie feels guilty for her wish.  She is eventually sent to America and learns that her wish did not bring about the potato famine.

My Path to Heaven: A Young Person's Guide to the Faith by Geoffrey Bliss, S.J.*
Fr. Geoffrey Bliss, S.J. has provided children with an excellent Ignatian retreat.  The details in the black and white illustrations grab the attention of more than one of my children.
Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie de Paola* (March 17)
If you have a son named after St. Patrick, this book should be part of your home library.  My Patrick saw it on Our Lady of Victory's table at a homeschool conference a couple of years ago and proudly exclaimed, "Look, Mommy, it's Patrick.  He's my saint."

Saint Ciaran: The Tale of a Saint of Ireland by Gary D. Schmidt (March 5)

Saint PatrickSaint Patrick by Ann Tompert (March 17)
Ann Tompert presents a simple biography of Saint Patrick's life and fills it with factual information.

Saint Patrick and the Peddler (Orchard Paperbacks)Saint Patrick and the Peddler by Margaret Hodges
A kind and thoughtful young peddler, who is experiencing hunger due to the potato famine, is visited by St. Patrick in his dreams.  When he finally listens to what St. Patrick is telling him, his life is changed.
I enjoyed the little bit of history that Margaret Hodges shared regarding St. Patrick's life and the story behind the inspiration for the book almost as much as the story itself.  We will be reading this book again.

Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi (March 19)
Leo Politi tells the story of the return of the swallows to Mission San Juan Capistrano through the eyes of a young boy, Juan.  Juan is sad when the swallows leave San Juan Capistrano.  Julian, the mission gardener and bell ringer, comforts him by sharing that the swallows return each year on St. Joseph's Day, March 19.  Delighted by what Julian shares Juan makes a small garden, hoping that at least one family of swallows will make their nest there when they return.

St. Patrick's Day in the Morning is a favorite March read-aloud in our home.  Young Jamie wakes up early to prove that he is not too small to March in the annual St. Patrick's Day parade.  Jan Brett's illustrations enrich this wonderful story even more.

Before immigrating to the United States from Ireland, Fergus carved himself a shillelagh from his favorite blackthorn tree.  Thanks in part to the shillelagh, his story is retold by one of his descendants each St. Patrick's Day.

That's What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully*
This book is new to us, but I could not pass it up after noticing the author and the illustrator.  As three mischievous leprechauns attempt to dig up their pot of gold and place it at the end of the rainbow, they can't help but pull some comical pranks.

Tim O'Toole and the Wee Folk by Gerald McDermott*
We have not read this book before, but it sounds really good.  Tim and his wife are really poor.  He goes looking for work and finds some wee folk instead.
Update:  My children immediately recognized this story, as a slight variation of one in a Faith and Freedom reading book.  They liked how the author took the story and adapted it into a cute Irish tale.

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