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Books for St. Patrick´s Day!

Books For When You Need To Read Green

Here is a list of books of fun, often silly, ways to remember St. Patrick´s Day.

St. Patrick´s Gargoyle, by Katherine Kurtz.
A fantasy book for the young adult reader. Set in Dublin, Kurtz tells the story of the gargoyles who watch over all churches. They gather on a monthly basis to complain about the changes they see in the city around them. As Publisher´s Weekly tells us, "When vandals break into St. Patrick´s Church, Paddy, its resident gargoyle, calls on old Templeton, a Knight of Malta who drives an ancient Rolls Royce for weddings, to help him apprehend the miscreants. Paddy also brings to life the Rolls Royce´s hood ornament, which Templeton tells him is a gryphon, not a gargoyle. Investigating the scene of the crime with his thirtyish policeman godson, Marcus Cassidy, Templeton finds Death´s Deputy at the church, expecting his due. In a nice touch, Paddy argues with the deputy to allow the old man more time to discover who´s behind the break-in."

St. Patrick´s Day in the Morning, by Eve Bunting.
Jamie seeks a way to prove that he is not too young to march in the big St. Patrick´s Day parade. "Detailed, warmly rounded pen-and-ink illustrations with shades of green and yellow complement this satisfying story for the 17th of March." -- School Library Journal

The Rogue´s March : John Riley and the St.Patrick´s Battalion, by Peter F. Stevens.
Adults looking to read about little known Irish-American history need look no further. This is the controversial true story of the US Army deserters--the majority of them Irish immigrants--who fought valiantly as a Mexican Army unit during the Mexican War of 1846. It takes a close look at the organized prejudice against Irish, Catholic, and German immigrants.

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland, by Tomie de Paola.
When looking for a story about Ireland´s patron saint I turn to my favorite children´s author. Tomie de Paola, with his usual talent, presents the biographical facts St. Patrick, and the legends surrounding him. The stylized figures add a historical feel. The gold bands around the illustrations lend a solemn tone. A reminder that this feast celebrates a saint and not green beer.

Two more Tomie de Paola books round out this book selection. They are fun and fanciful.
Jamie O´Rourke and the Big Potato and Fin M´Coul: The Giant of Knockmany Hill.

The first features "the laziest man in all of Ireland." Jamie is accustomed to his wife doing all the household and garden chores, so when she injures her back, he figures he´s sure to starve to death. But as luck would have it, he chances upon a leprechaun. The elfin man offers Jamie the biggest "pratie" in the world in exchange for letting him go.

Feeling self-satisfied, Jamie plants the seed, which soon grows into a potato big enough to be a logistical nightmare for the village. Luckily, his wife comes through for him once again, and everyone ends up happy and full.


The second book is also a retelling of an Irish folktale. It is laugh-out-loud funny. Fin is a giant who lives quite happily on Knockmany Hill, until Cullen, another giant, decides to fight Fin. Fin and his wife Oogah trick Cucullin and take away his strength. My students most enjoy it when Cucullin looses his teeth eating bread with a frying pan in it. The illustrations are vibrant and funny. In both these tales de Paola highlights the intelligence of the title characters´ wife.

Whether you share a book with a child, want a good fantasy, or learn something new about Irish-Americans, have a green and glorious St. Patrick´s Day!

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