With St Paddy’s Day only a few days away, A good way to get children in a celebratory mood while teaching them about a new culture is to share some good all-fashioned Irish folk tales.
Here are 5 of our favorite picks:
Too Many Fairies: A Celtic Tale by Margaret Read MacDonald
There was once an old woman who hated chores. “Work! Work! Work! How I hate it! Hate it! Hate it!” One day some fairies show up. They . . . clankety clankety-clankety —clean all the dishes.Swishety-swishety-swishety —sweep the house. Flumpety-flumpety-flumpety — shake out the bedclothes. Clickety-clickety-clickety —work on all the knitting. But then there is nothing left to do. So, they tear everything apart and start again! Clankety-clankety-clankety, swishety-swishety-swishety . . . . The fairies are driving the old woman crazy! How will she get them to leave? Lively watercolor illustrations add to this Celtic retelling by master storyteller Margaret Read MacDonald. An author’s note is also included.
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O’Sullivan Stew by Hudson Talbott
Someone has stolen the witch of Crookhaven’s horse, and there will be no peace in the village until it is returned. So bold, brassy Kate O’Sullivan takes matters into her own hands. But instead of saving the day, she manages to land herself–and her family–in trouble with the king. So Kate sets out to save their hides the only way she knows how–with a good story. Filled with imagination, wit, and a healthy helping of good old-fashioned Irish blarney, this is a hilarious tale that will keep readers coming back for more.
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Flying Feet: A Story of Irish Dance by Anna Marlis Burgard, Dees McCloskey
The competition is on! Two champion dancers, Aidan and Michael, arrive in the village of Ballyconneely at the very same moment, each hoping to become the town’s dance master. The villagers can support only one instructor, so the men agree to battle it out through rounds of reels and hornpipes. At each stage of the contest, the men challenge each other by calling for more and more difficult tunes to test their opponent’s skill. Cheered on by the gathering crowd, the men dance on increasingly daring platformsfrom rain barrels to stone walls and beyondas each inspires the other until the best man wins. Based on a true event, this classic tale illustrates the enduring tradition of dance and music in Ireland.
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Ballywhinney Girl by Eve Bunting
Maeve is unnerved when she and her grandfather find a body in the bog in Ballywhinney, Ireland. It turns out to be the body of a young girl who lived more than a thousand years ago. A girl like Maeve, with fair hair, who walked the same fields and picked the same flowers. When archeologists display the mummy at a museum, Maeve wonders: Does the girl mind being displayed in a glass case for all to see? Or does she miss the green meadow where she had lain for so many hundreds of years?
Two picture-book masters sensitively capture the layers of thought and feeling arising in the face of an awe-inspiring and mysterious discovery.
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Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato: An Irish Folktale by Tomie dePaola
When his wife injures her back and can’t do all the work, Jamie O’Rourke–the laziest man in all of Ireland–is sure he’ll starve to death. A wiley leprechaun intervenes, and one wish later, Jamie is the proud owner of a potato as big as a house!
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