By Eve Bunting
Illustrated by Jan Brett
Even if your family did not sail from the Emerald Isle you will find yourself drawn to Ireland by this warm and lively St. Patrick's Day tale by Irish author Eve Bunting.
His family has told Young Jamie he was too small to walk in the annual parade all the way up Acorn Hill. Determined to prove them wrong, Jamie awakens early and sets out with his trusty dog Nell on the most wonderful early morning walk through the village and to the top of Acorn Hill. Rich illustrations by Jan Brett are full of detail but minimal in color, highlighting the greens and yellows that evoke the jaunty feeling of this festive day. This is a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day read-aloud that just may inspire you and your young reader to dance an Irish jig or two.
In this Issue
You might also enjoy: Jamie O'Rourke and the Pooka by Tomie dePaola.
Your young reader can create an Irish flag just like Jamie’s. Our version is a wee bit bigger than Jamie’s but still perfect for marching in a parade around your house, yard or down the street.
In the illustrations of St. Patrick's Day in the Morning, the flag is show as green, white, and yellow (and yellow is mentioned in the text), but the flag is in fact green, white and orange. You can learn more about the history of the Irish Flag here.
- 9 x 12 Construction paper –1 sheet each of white, green and orange
- Cardboard tube from wrapping paper or a stick
- Masking tape (optional)
- Lay green sheet of construction paper vertically and measure 4” from the end. Draw a line and then ask your reader to cut on the line. Repeat with the orange paper.
- Lay the white sheet of construction paper vertically. Apply glue to the back of the green 4” section and glue to one end of the white sheet. Repeat with the orange sheet and apply to the opposite end of the white sheet. Allow flag to lay flat to dry completely.
- For marching in your parade you might want to attach the flag to a flag pole, fashioned from a cardboard tube from wrapping paper or a stick. If using the cardboard tube, simply glue the flag to the tube, green side closer to the pole, and let dry. If you anticipate enthusiastic flag waving, reinforce with staples. If using a stick, use several pieces of masking tape to attach the stick to the back of the flag
Armed with your just-made Irish tricolor flag and tube flute, have a parade in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and all things Irish!
Reinvent a scarf to become a sash for your young reader, and add an old coat and hat from the dress up stash to look even more like Jamie.
To added even more authenticity to the procession you can play the following video of traditional Irish music by "The Ghillie's."
As you might have heard, what we Americans think of as Irish soda bread is indeed not Irish Soda Bread, or at least real Irish soda bread. Traditional soda bread is made with only flour, baking soda, buttermilk, and salt, which I would imagine is more suited to being accompanied by a soup or stew. If you are looking for a more traditional Irish soda bread, as pictured with our recipe for Colcannon, I love this recipe for Homemade Irish Soda Bread from Mark Bittman.
This Irish soda bread is a bit sweeter with the addition of dried fruit and is delicious spread with butter. This recipe is great to make with kids because there are a lot of kid-friendly steps, from measuring to staring, to mixing the dough with your hands.
To help engage your young reader in the cooking process even more, download and print your own copy of this recipe, illustrated and written for young cooks. The full recipe with complete instructions (just as it is below) is also included on the print-out.
Irish Soda Bread
Adapted from several recipes, but especially Simply Recipes' version.
- 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons of cold butter
- 1 cup raisins, currants, or dried cranberries
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
- In a large bowl mix together 4 cups of the flour, the salt, sugar, and baking soda.
- Cut the butter into small cubes and add to flour. Using your hands, work the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal.
- Stir in the raisins.
- Stir together the buttermilk and egg and add to the flour mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until too stiff to stir.
- Again using your hands continue to mix the dough just until it comes together. If is very sticky add up to 1/2 cup flour.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and form into a round loaf. Place on the baking sheet.
- Using a serrated knife, cut a large X into the top.
- Bake 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown. If a long skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, it is done.
For a quick geography lesson (shh!), use a globe or world map to show your young reader how to find Ireland, the setting of St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning. Identify where you live as well and where Ireland is in relation to your home.
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