Rainbows, pots of gold, four leaf clovers, and leprechauns… St. Patrick’s Day brings lots of fun themes to get children excited about books. Here are a few great stories to share this St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy!
What Makes a Rainbow by Betty Ann Schwartz, 2003
(Ages 0 – 3)
Little rabbit and his friends explore the colors of the rainbow in this cute board book. Each page features a ribbon with the two-page spread’s highlighted color. My 20 month-old daughter was fascinated by the ribbons and loved playing with them while we explored the book together. Even though this is not specifically a St. Patrick’s Day book, the rainbow theme helped my daughter learn her colors and she loved the pop up surprise at the end.
Lucky Ducky by Doreen Mulryan, 2016
(Ages 3 – 5)
Poor Ducky thinks he is unlucky. It rains when he wants to go swimming, he drops his ice cream cone, his laundry turns pink, etc. Ever the optimist, Ducky decides to change his luck by searching for a four leaf clover. He is distracted by friends along the way and even though he never officially finds the four leaf clover, he learns a valuable lesson. “No matter what happens… as long as he has friends… he’s the luckiest duck of all!”. Even though this is not specifically a St. Patrick’s Day book, the theme of luck ties it to the holiday. The bright pictures and simple text make this a nice read aloud with an important message of making your own luck with a positive attitude and supportive friends.
Ten Lucky Leprechauns by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook; illustrated by Jay Johnson, 2013
(Ages 2 – 4)
Silly rhymes fill this short and simple counting book. There is nothing particularly groundbreaking here, but it makes for a nice read aloud for toddlers. It could easily be combined with a fun flannel board activity where toddlers add each new leprechaun creating an engaging storytime. The story ends with a nice message of friendship. “Ten leprechauns find a big pot of gold at the place where the bright rainbow ends. But fiddle-de-fizz, the true magic is…finding ten lucky leprechaun friends.”
How To Trap a Leprechaun by Sue Fliess; illustrated by Emma Randall, 2017
(Ages 3 to 8)
Bright colors, flowing rhymes, diverse characters, inspires children to be creative… this book has it all! It is one of my favorite St. Patrick’s Day books currently available. The simple plot focuses on a group of children with different skin tones who come together to trap a leprechaun. Despite their best efforts, the leprechaun escapes, but all is not lost. He leaves a tiny note that challenges the kids to try again next year. The back of the book includes a note to parents with tips on how to build a trap with your child. There is also a little background information on leprechauns to inform children of these mischievous creatures. My son could not wait to design his own leprechaun trap after reading this book. I give five stars to any book that makes children want to explore and create.
How to Catch a Leprechaun by Adam Wallace; illustrated by Andy Elkerton, 2016
(Ages 4 – 8)
A mischievous leprechaun escapes a variety of elaborate traps in this colorful St. Patrick’s Day book. The leprechaun taunts the children on each page until the end where he challenges the reader to build the perfect trap. “You’ll never catch this Leprechaun impossible! That’s a fact! Unless, one day, a brilliant child designs the perfect trap! But who will that child be?” This book is entertaining, but the title is a bit misleading. Instead of offering any instruction on how to catch a leprechaun, it simply shows a bunch of failed traps. It is a fine read aloud, but it is missing the charm of How to Trap a Leprechaun reviewed above.
A Fine St. Patrick’s Day by Susan Wojciechowski; illustrated by Tom Curry, 2004
(Ages 5 – 8)
The towns of Tralee and Tralah enter into a competition each year to win the golden shamrock for the best St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The town of Tralee has never won, but thanks to six year-old Fiona who has the idea to paint the town green, they are hopeful that this could be the year they take home the coveted trophy. As the two towns prepare for the contest, a little green man with pointy ears approaches Tralah and begs for help removing his stuck cows from the mud. Everyone in Tralah is too busy cutting out shamrocks to help him, so he quickly turns to Tralee. The townspeople decide as a community to put down their paint brushes and sacrifice winning the contest to help the stranger. The next day they are surprised to see their town painted green after all. They win the contest and the next year little Fiona has another amazing idea. The town agrees to stop competing and simply decorate for the fun of it.
The book is a little bit on the long side, but the rich illustrations and important lessons make it a great choice for sharing around St. Patrick’s Day or any other time of year. The story conveys the importance of helping others, acting as a community, being happy with what you have, and listening to everyone’s ideas including a child. A fun read with lots of great take aways.
Fiona’s Luck by Teresa Bateman; illustrated by Kelly Murphy, 2007
(Ages 5 – 10)
When the greedy Leprechaun King captures all the luck in Ireland and locks it away with a spell, the poor people of Ireland suffer many hardships. A clever girl named Fiona takes it upon herself to trick the Leprechaun King and win back the luck of the Irish. The book is a bit long, but children will love the fairytale feel to the story and the battle of wits between Fiona and the Leprechaun King.