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The Twelve Days of Christmas – Laurel Long

laurel long twelve days of christmas cover

Christmas books in June?  Am I crazy?  Yes, Probably! But I am so excited about the deal I got that I just have to share with all of you.  Last Christmas I wanted to buy a copy of Laurel Long’s Twelve days of Christmas, but couldn’t find a used copy for a good price, and with all of the other presents I was buying, I just couldn’t justify getting myself a this book.  Well, the random thought occurred to me that I should check out Abe’s books for a copy of it now, since the inventory would be up and demand low.  Guys, I scored! It’s literally a gold mine out there for Christmas books. I was able to get a hardcover copy in “like new” condition for $3.99 shipping included. It still had a sticker on the back for the $20 the book should cost. I am posting about this in June because Amazon and Abe’s books have a bunch of copies right now for you to get yourself an early Christmas present too.

ten lords a leaping laurel long

Ten Lords A Leaping Laurel Long

If you aren’t familiar with Laurel Long, run to the Library and get her Magic Nesting dolls book, or the harder to find Lady and the Lion.  They are all stunning.  Really.  I am no artist and I don’t use that word lightly.  These are the kind of picture book that make you remember to be grateful you have eyes with which to see things.  Trust me, boy or girl, old or young, you will like this book.  You will stare at the pictures for quite sometime and each time find new things you haven’t seen before.

Review:

six geese a laying laurel long

Six Geese- by Laurel Long. I still haven’t found that third hen.

I have sung and read the Twelve Days of Christmas every day this week to my girls. They both love the book.  Surprisingly, neither has asked why I am reading them a Christmas book right now.  Each double page, full-color illustration shows one of the days of Christmas.  Then each following day has all the other previous items hidden beautifully within the drawing for that day.  I haven’t even found them all because it’s cleverly done. I didn’t even know to look for them until after a few reads through because it all blends nicely. (hint: one goose has two turtle dove feathers) It adds fun to the book without taking away from how nice the pictures look.

One last note: the author says “Four Collie Birds” when I always thought “calling birds”… I believe you can find both versions if you look and that’s by no means a deal breaker for me.  I am so glad to have gotten this book to add to my Christmas collection.  Be sure to buy the hardcover copy, you will want to keep yours for years to come too.

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  • Illustrator: Laurel Long
  • Publisher: Dial Books
  • ISBN:0803733577
  • Copyright:October 13, 2011
  • Laurel Long Website link

Disclaimer: I bought my copy with my own money for way less than it is worth. I will get a small commission if you buy from my affiliate link.

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The Leprechaun’s Gold – Pamela Duncan Edwards

I couldn’t resist one more St. Patrick’s day book review even though it will be too late for anyone to check it out in time for the big day itself.  This one is more touching than most I have read so the happy good morale should make it worth the read for most parents.

The Leprechaun's Gold -Pamela Duncan Edwards

The Leprechaun’s Gold -Pamela Duncan Edwards

Summary

The Leprechaun's Gold - 0439754526

The Leprechaun’s Gold – Pamela Duncan Edwards, Scholastic Inc. 0439754526

This story begins long ago in a small village where we find a smiling old man name Pat.  He was a harpist, and a good one at that!  Pat is humble and kind and willing to play his music for all kinds of events whether the people can pay him or not.  Well, young Tom, who was trained in the art by old Pat thinks the man is crazy for not making more money from his skills.  Old Pat says “I am rich in friends, and that is enough.”  well, one day the king holds a harping contest (you know, because they had a lot of those back in olden days of course)  and our two friends decide to give it a go.  Mean young Tom decides that old Pat just might beat him and breaks a string on his harp when he isn’t looking.   Poor poor old Pat has no extras, he can’t afford them!  He knows he won’t be able to win the contest now, but is going to give it a try anyway.

By this time, the wood is dark and as everyone knows, there are Leprechauns lurking there ready to play tricks on people for mean sport.  Suddenly our musicians hear a cry for help.  Unable to ignore the plea, old Pat goes to help the poor soul while Tom high-tails it out of there to safety.   Good thing for Pat, Leprechauns are nice if you help them out of a jam. Especially when you are as humble and kind as Pat was.  Just wait and see how that little Leprechaun decides to return the favor to our generous friend!

Review

The Leprechaun's Gold - 0439754526

The Leprechaun’s Gold – Pamela Duncan Edwards Scholastic inc.

The pictures are thoughtfully done and most pages have an intricate border around them.  There are 16 four leaf clovers hidden in this book for kids to find.  You won’t find any beautiful maidens or even cute furry animals in this one- so I think my daughters weren’t as excited about it as they might have been… but, as the mother, I get to pick the books we read sometimes and the story is so great, that I would force-feed it to my daughters if I had to.  (I mean, I don’t mind drawings of kind old men, but it’s not a super draw for my girls just yet… sigh!)  This is one of those stories that you hope is true; that good wins and kindness matters.  So, while I haven’t had to make my girls finish this story with me, they also haven’t asked me to read it on their own. Which kind of makes me sad, but I will keep trying. Repeat after me… Kindness matters more than princesses!

  • Author: Pamela Duncan Edwards
  • Illustrator:Henry Cole
  • ISBN:0439754526
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
  • Copyright: 2005

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Jamie O’Rourke and The Big Potato – Tomie DePaola

Tomie DePaola and PaperStar publishing

Tomie DePaola and PaperStar publishing

Happy St. Patrick’s day everyone!  Who wants to learn about Leprechauns?  Well, I don’t actually know much about them, but this is a super cute story with Leprechauns, pots of gold and… potatoes.   Surprisingly, in my hunt for a good St. Patrick’s day book, I didn’t find one with a rainbow and a pot of gold in it.  So if you have some suggestions, please let me know in the comments below.  While Jamie O’Rourke is not a definitive work on the wee little men, it does give you a hint of their craftiness and fun.

Summary

jamie o'rourke  Tomie DePaola

Jamie O’Rourke happens to be the laziest man that ever lived (in Ireland at least) Thankfully, he is married to a woman who is willing to work when her husband will not.  Eileen, hurts her back pulling up their potatoes and so poor old Jamie becomes scared that they will starve that winter.  Does he go out to the garden to get the potatoes for his family since his wife no longer can?  No!  He decides that he better go to the priest for one last confession before he starves to death!

Old Jamie comes to this conclusion at midnight and doesn’t want to wait (or work) so he heads out then and there to Father O’Malley’s. On the way he finds a Leprechaun making shoes for the fairy folk (that’s how they have all that gold you know)  and he catches the little man, demanding his gold. This Leprechaun was cleverer than most, and tells Jamie he only has a few gold coins because he is new to making shoes.  He offers our friend a wish instead, and coaxes him into wishing for the biggest potato (Pratie) in the world, all with no work.  Jamie decides that no work for a big potato is a great trade and he lets the little man go.

Jamie O'rourke  and the Big Potato PlantNow, I would love to tell you that Jamie learns his lesson, works hard for the giant potato and all of that, but that simply is not the case.  He is as lazy as ever!  He plants that seed and soon has a ginormous potato plant in his yard.  It is such a spectacle that soon all the town comes to see it.  Since this book is widely available I won’t spoil it for you, but that giant potato makes a nuisance of itself, but in the end, it all works out for our lazy friend. (Thankfully not everyone is as lazy as Jamie O’Rourke)

 

Review

My daughter couldn’t believe that on the last page we see that same little leprechaun smiling over his giant pot of gold.  “He’s a liar!” she kept saying and I just smiled and said: “Well, you have to be careful with the leprechauns, they don’t give their gold to just anyone, you have to be smart to get it.”  My oldest is still mad that the leprechaun lied! I like this story because it’s festive and Tomie DePaola wrote it, and I would buy almost anything of his. (Even though that gray cat and brown dog look awfully familiar) This is a fun one to read for Saint Patrick’s day, and a classic, but not a favorite.  There really isn’t a morale to the story, it’s just silly and I think that’s fairly accurate for leprechaun lore.  I will keep reading to find more stories for this holiday, but am glad to have this one in my collection (even if my daughter is a bit traumatized!)  She is warming up to the story now and thinks she’s pretty smart for not falling for the Leprechaun’s tricks. I guess I can rest easy knowing that, should she run into any little men dressed in green, she won’t be letting them go for just any old prize.  Whew! I can check that off my list of things she needs to know now.

  • Author: Tomie DePaola
  • Illustrator:  Tomie DePaola
  • ISBN: 978-0-698-11603-0
  • Publisher: PaperStar Book
  • Copyright: 1992

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Jaime O'Rourke  - 978-0-698-11603-0

Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato- Tomie DePaola and PaperStar Books.