Book It, Pt. 24: A Quick Trip to Ireland and the Land of Illusions
I have spent a fair amount of
time here complaining about winter, so it's a good time to let you know that I
LOVE St. Patrick's Day, mostly because to me it is the beginning of spring. Also,
I am Darn Well Irish (the MacSweeneys, one of them being my grandfather, hail
from County Cork, Ireland). This is sort of a weird holiday to target educationally
because of, well, the drinking, and also the fact that only some (or none) of
the kids in any given class are likely to be Irish. But the point of the
holiday is that we all can embody the friendly, fun-loving and folklore-rich
spirit of Ireland, so, a book for you:
Tomie Di Paola's Jamie O'Rourke and the Pooka tells
the story of what happens when the "laziest man in Ireland" is left to fend for
himself for a week while his long-suffering wife goes on a trip. Though he is
asked to keep the house in order, he spends each night feasting with his
friends and letting the mess accumulate. A local creature - a "Pooka" - observes
the disorder and decides to help Jaime out, cleaning up each night while Jamie
sleeps. Jamie thinks he is the luckiest man in the country as a result, and
when he finally figures out what is happening, he decides to reward the Pooka
(with an unexpected result, at least for Jamie).
This book always grabs the
interest of the kids, and has a number of speech-language applications:
-The Pooka himself is an object
of wonder, and can elicit a lot of descriptive language and comparison. Though
a Pooka officially is a "mischievous spirit," this one looks somewhat like a
big donkey. I am partial, again, to this topic as my dear departed "Nomie"
nicknamed me Pooka at a young age (a good text-to-self connection I always
-The book has a great narrative
structure, with repeated and escalating events leading to a fun conclusion.
-The adjectives/traits of being
lucky and lazy make for a nice brainstorming activity. What events would make
one lucky? What behaviors would make one lazy?
-Pair this book with the new app Toca House, which has a ton of mini-games in which
you sequentially clean a house!
involving what happens when you trick your eyes by staring at a red shamrock
for 30 seconds. This provides a fun tie-in to a curriculum on the five senses,
and a good opportunity for kids to use procedural language as they explain the
process to a peer or family member.
Luck O' The Irish to
Read more of Sean Sweeney at www.speechtechie.com