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.
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.
Now, 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)
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