St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. At our house, upcoming holidays are always accompanied by holiday children’s books. We check out a LOT of holiday picture books. The quality varies drastically so I try to mark down our favorites to reread the following year. Here are 6 St. Patrick’s Day children’s books that strike gold with our kids!
I strongly believe that you do not have to buy books to enjoy them and I ALWAYS recommend using your library card to access books for FREE. However, I recognize that books make great gifts.
Young Shannon wants to compete in the St. Patrick’s Day stepdance contest but worries that in her hand-sewn dress and second-hand shoes, she won’t be able to match the competition. When she breaks the heel of her shoe and feels her chances of competing are doomed, she tries to summon a leprechaun with an old Irish legend. A man appears claiming to be a leprechaun, but given his height, Shannon is skeptical. But he offers her 3 wishes so she decides to try wishing for new shoes, to be a great stepdancer, and for gold. The leprechaun has unconventional ways of granting Shannon’s wishes that value taking care of what you have (instead of needing something new), hard work, and practice. Certainly some lessons I can get behind as a frugal parent! Bolstered by rich, realistic illustrations featuring great depth of color, this book is one we borrow from the library every year!
Kids love using the teaser illustrations on the sturdy tabs to skip to their favorites of the seven poems in this holiday collection board book. Lumiere enjoys “Step Dancing!” while Chip prefers “An Irish Dish!” I usually sing the poems to the tune of the old campfire song “Johnny Verbeck” (terrifying song lyrics, you’ve been warned). While the poems can be read and understood individually, they are sequenced to make a more cohesive reading experience. Cute and colorful illustrations feature the always-mischevious and adorable Curious George. This book could pair with a craft like the one described on the “Trapping Leprechauns” page or the cooking of an Irish Dish like those mentioned on the “An Irish Dish!” page.
This sturdy board book with bright colorful illustrations is great for when my kids beg for “one more book” and it’s already past bedtime (a common conundrum in our household). The rhyming is simple and familiar, following the Itsy Bitsy Spider rhythm. The rich, detailed images provide lots of opportunities for book interaction with young readers. With 5 small animals and 4 insects that recur on every page spread, it’s easy to make a basic game of “who can find the yellow butterfly on this page?” or practice counting.
My kids enjoy other books in this series featuring the jolly Gingerbread Man who speaks in rhymes. The cartoonlike illustrations are engaging and the lively, rhythmic rhyming makes it fun to read aloud! In this book, a wee leprechaun shows up and begins making mischief at school. The Gingerbread Man and his fellow students must follow a trail of clues left by the leprechaun before devising a clever Rube Goldberg-esqe trap to catch the leprechaun and make him clean up his messes. We enjoyed using the clues to guess where the leprechaun was going to next and, of course, loved his visit to the library most of all!
If you are not familiar with the Strawberry Shortcake franchise, you are missing out on some berry punny jokes! This St. Patrick’s Day installment finds the fruit-named friends preparing for their town’s holiday parade and festivities. Each character is responsible for some element(s) of the event, but Lemon Meringue is struggling to complete her tasks as she expected. When the others see how frustrated she is, they cleverly “plant” a four-leaf clover for Lemon to find so she will think her luck has reversed. Lemon finds success in her efforts as a result of the placebo effect and eventually, the friends admit their well-intentioned shenanigan. As in many of the Strawberry Shortcake books, the characters articulate appreciation for one another’s friendship. This book gave us some good discussion opportunities around persistence and mindset in the face of challenges.
When I asked Lumiere why another kid should read this book, they said: “Because it encourages you that even if you have bad luck, then just try again.” Chip loves the cute and colorful illustrations.
When the greedy leprechaun king collects all the luck in Ireland and seals it away with a spell, the entire country is destitute: cows won’t give milk, hens won’t lay eggs, crops fail to grow. Wise Fiona tricks the leprechauns into bringing her to their leader. Once there, she devises a plan to break the spell that traps the luck in a wooden chest by battling wits with the leprechaun king. I don’t know that my kids (ages 4 & 6) would have understood the story as well before this year as there is some depth to the nuanced way in which Fiona is able to best the king. Love that this book features a smart female protagonist!