Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato: An Irish Folktale

Overview

"Illustrated in dePaola's signature style, this has an inviting look. Buoyant watercolors are framed by thin orange borders....An engaging read-aloud choice for St. Patrick's Day." ? Booklist A Cheery picture book, with the artist using the lighter, brighter side of his palette....Attractive and amusing." ? Kirkus Reviews

The laziest man in all of Ireland catches a leprechaun, who offers a potato seed instead of a pot of gold for ...

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Overview

"Illustrated in dePaola's signature style, this has an inviting look. Buoyant watercolors are framed by thin orange borders....An engaging read-aloud choice for St. Patrick's Day." — Booklist A Cheery picture book, with the artist using the lighter, brighter side of his palette....Attractive and amusing." — Kirkus Reviews

The laziest man in all of Ireland catches a leprechaun, who offers a potato seed instead of a pot of gold for his freedom.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This inspired Irish folktale clearly illustrates that taking the easy way out of a situation is sometimes more trouble than it's worth. Potato farmer Jamie O'Rourke, ``the laziest man in all of Ireland,'' is unfortunately not the brightest of men either. The prospect of a harsh and foodless winter, due to meager crops, and the ceaseless nagging of his hardworking wife impel Jamie to the church to pray for help. As Irish luck would have it, Jamie happens upon and captures a leprechaun who cunningly offers magic potato seeds instead of the traditional pot of gold. The resulting colossal spud feeds the O'Rourkes and the other villagers far longer than anyone could have imagined. Although the comical tone works well here, readers may be surprised that Jamie is rewarded for being lazy. Thatched-roof cottages, stone hedges and sheep dot the green landscape, depicting rustic life on the Emerald Isle. DePaola's distinctive homespun style and genial gentry round, child like faces add plenty of zip to this silly story. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Debra Briatico
Jamie O'Rourke, the laziest man in all of Ireland, tries to avoid work at all costs. When his wife Eileen hurts her back and can no longer work, Jamie decides to visit his church. During his walk, he captures a leprechaun and demands his pot of gold. Instead of giving the Irish man his gold, the tiny green-clad fellow gives Jamie a potato seed. Upon returning home, Jamie plants and waters the magic seed, which becomes the biggest "pratie" he or any of the villagers has ever seen. In his effort to uproot the vegetable, Jamie and his fellow villagers get the potato stuck in the middle of the road. When he is blamed for the mishap, Jamie invites everyone to take pieces of the potato home with them. After a winter of nothing but potatoes, the villagers promise to give Jamie and his wife plenty of food each day in return for not ever planting another magic potato seed again.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3 --dePaola's new picture book pays tribute to the other side of his heritage: the Irish. Adapted from an unspecified folktale, the story follows the adventures of Jamie O'Rourke, ``the laziest man in all of Ireland,'' and his long-suffering wife, Eileen. When Eileen's bad back prevents her from harvesting the potato crop, Jamie is convinced that he's in imminent danger of starvation. He hurries off to church, eager to make his confession before the inevitable end, but along the way he stumbles upon a leprechaun. Overjoyed by his good luck, Jamie accepts a magical potato seed in place of the customary pot of gold. Despite this unorthodox gift, he finds that his fortunes have been made by the encounter--in a roundabout and humorous sort of way. The text has traditional folklore conventions: exaggerated, yet flat, characters; a tricky plot; and, of course, a happy ending. dePaola's illustrations are attractive as always, although their static look is sometimes at odds with the tall-tale flavor of the narrative. However, variations in the placement of text and pictures, as well as varying sizes of illustrations, help to create additional interest. --Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780698116030
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 111,340
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.06 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Tomie dePaola

Tomie dePaola is one of the most well-known and best loved creators of children's books. He lives in New London, New Hampshire.

Biography

Born in 1934 into a large extended Irish/Italian family, Tomie dePaola received his art education at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute and the California College of Arts & Crafts. Although he always wanted to create children's books, he spent several years applying his talents to the fields of education, theater, and graphic design. In the mid-1960s, he received his first commission to illustrate a children's science book. A year later, he published his first original picture book, The Wonderful Dragon of Timlin. Today, he is one of the most prolific -- and beloved -- author/illustrators in children's literature.

In addition to illustrating stories by other writers, DePaola has created artwork for collections of poetry, nursery rhymes, holiday traditions, and folk and religious tales. But, he is most famous for books of his own creation, especially Strega Nona ("Grandma Witch"), the beloved story of an old woman who uses her magical powers to help the people of her small Italian village. Written in 1975, this Caldecott Honor winner is still delighting children today.

DePaola admits that there are strong autobiographical elements in many of his books (Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs, The Art Lesson, Stagestruck), but nowhere is this more evident than in 26 Fairmount Avenue, a series of charming chapter books based on his Connecticut childhood. Taking its name from the address of his family home, the series captures the experiences and emotions of a young boy growing up in the late 1930s and early '40s in the shadow of World War II. The first book in the series received a 1999 Newbery Honor Award.

DePaola and his work have been recognized with many honors, including the Smithsonian Medal, the Kerlan Award for "singular attainment in children's literature," the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal, and several awards from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. In 1999, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts bestowed on dePaola the Lotte Jacobi Living Treasure Award for the body of his work.

Good To Know

  • Tomie dePaola's name is pronounced Tommy de POW-la.

  • Between college and graduate school, dePaola spent a short time in a Benedictine monastery before determining that religious life was not for him.

  • Using a combination of watercolor, tempera, and acrylic, dePaola's artistic style is best described as folk-traditional.

  • DePaola's favorite painters and strongest artistic influences are Matisse, Giotto, and Ben Shahn.
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    Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted April 20, 2009

      I was suprised!

      After buying this book for my great nephew and grandson, when I read the story I was surprised as it gave the lesson that being lazy is ok. I will definately read through a child's story before I buy in the future!

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted April 20, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      Funny

      Good read, but teaches kid to accept handout instead of working hard

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted April 27, 2009

      great illustrations, bad message

      This is a folktale that kind-of promotes laziness becasue he finds a way to make everyone else in town do his work for him. I usually like Tomie dePaola books, but I was disappointed in this one.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted April 11, 2009

      Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato

      This is a cute book. I gave it to my Grandson for St. Patrick's Day.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted April 14, 2003

      Wonderful

      My son loves this story. We have to read it over and over.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted September 22, 2010

      No text was provided for this review.

    • Anonymous

      Posted February 14, 2010

      No text was provided for this review.

    Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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