Saturday, March 13, 2010

Kid Konnection: St. Patrick's Day Edition

Welcome to Kid Konnection -- a (hopefully) regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. Today, I am going to feature a some books that are perfect for this time of year since St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner.

Summary: Jack and Annie are on their third mission to find (and inspire!) creative people to bring happiness to others through the arts (Mozart and Louis Armstrong so far). Set in Ireland, Jack and Annie meet an Irish girl and go on a magical adventure that changes the girl’s life—she grows up to be Lady Gregory, who helped bring back the Irish legends, started a theater, and helped the Irish people regain both their heritage and their pride. -- Random House

Both of my kids are kind of in-between the Magic Tree House books (my daughter is too old and my son is too young), but I still think they are one of the best series out there for early readers. And I still enjoy reading them myself. LEPRECHAUN IN LATE WINTER (Magic Tree House #43) by Mary Pope Osborne is the newest Magic Tree House book, and I thought it was adorable.

LEPRECHAUN IN LATE WINTER is the third adventure for Annie and Jack as they try to find creative people who bring happiness to others through art. For this mission, they have to travel to Ireland in the early 1900s and find a young girl named Augusta. While they are there, they end up learning about the art of Irish storytelling; and they even get to meet a leprechaun. It's a very entertaining adventure for young children. And the best part is that they can learn a great deal while also enjoying the story. These books truly are wonderful, and I think even the most reluctant readers enjoy reading about Annie's and Jack's adventures.

At the end of the story, the reader learns that Miss Augusta is actually the famous Lady Gregory. A woman who devoted her life learning Irish legends and helped the Irish people bring back their heritage, language and culture. I have to admit that I actually learned a lot from this books to about Ireland and Irish folklore.

I've read a few of the Magic Tree House books, and I absolutely love that they are both fun to read and educational. I think the premise of the series is brilliant, but I also really love the characters of Annie and Jack! They are great kids who are smart, resourceful, kind and funny. I think they have many of the attributes that children can relate to. Plus, what kid doesn't dream about going on adventures to faraway lands?

Summary: Do the folk stories about leprechauns match our ideas about them today? Are there other fairies in Irish tradition? What are the origins of these stories? Why do people believe in leprechauns and fairies? Find out the answers to these questions and more in Magic Tree House Research Guide #21: Leprechauns and Irish Folklore, Jack and Annie’s guide to the wee folk of Ireland. -- Random House

MAGIC TREE HOUSE RESEARCH GUIDE: LEPRECHAUNS AND IRISH FOLKLORE is the non-fiction companion book to LEPRECHAUN IN LATE WINTER. I had never read any of the research guides before, but my daughter used to enjoy them. She even wrote a book report a few years back from one of the research guides about knights. I was quite impressed with how informative this book was, and I truly found it very interesting.

As a mom, I wasn't surprised by how much I liked the companion book; however, I can definitely say that this research guide is written with kids in mind. It is extremely easy-to-read and understand; and at the same time, it has a ton of facts in it. I especially appreciated how the authors included little comments on the borders of the pages from either Jack or Annie. Had these books been available when I was a kid, I have a feeling that I would have referred to them over and over again...but I was kind of a geek that way!

I highly recommend LEPRECHAUN IN LATE WINTER along with LEPRECHAUNS AND IRISH FOLKLORE for early readers. They are absolutely perfect for this time of year especially if the children in your life are interested in Irish folklore (or if they are already fans of the Magic Tree House series.) In fact, I worked at our school book fair this week and these books were quite popular.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me review copies of these books.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


bermudaonion said...

I'm wondering why I'm not familiar with Mary Pope Osborne because Vance would have loved those research guides. Hopefully he knew about them, but I didn't.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love Irish folklore. One of my favorite Middle Grade books incorporates it along with baseball lore - what a great combo! It's "The Prince of Fenway Park" by Julia Baggott. I recommend it - it's probably the only MG book I read that I couldn't put down! :--)

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I added a link. I wrote a post about two picture books for St. Patrick's Day.

Sandy Nawrot said...

You are right, these books are great. Both of my kids went through the stage of reading them. They are quick and easy to read, and they actually teach them something!

Anonymous said...

As a fan of verse, I was wondering if anyone had come across any kids' books featuring limericks? Great time of year to teach about that form of poetry.

April said...

What a fun idea!! The Magic Tree House books are so awesome! My 7 year old and I have been reading them since she was 5. I LOVE how they have the research guide to go with each one - we have a few for the topics that especially pique Hannah's interest such as the Dinosaurs and Titanic. I just received Leprechaun in Late Winter from Amazon yesterday and we are going to read it this wkend. I also ordered the research guide from her school book order, so can't wait to see that. We are 1/4 Irish, so I have always been fascinated with anything pertaining to that culture!

Cindy Hudson said...

My kids loved the Magic Tree House books. They are so much fun, and even though my daughters are older now, I'm glad to know about this one.

Cindy Hudson said...

My kids loved the Magic Tree House books. They are so much fun, and even though my daughters are older now, I'm glad to know about this one.

Jen said...

You inspired me! I just posted a review of St. Patrick's Day in the Morning!

Anonymous said...

As a fan of Irish poetry, I found this to be a fine work. Thanks for posting..