Library celebrates St. Paddy#039;s Day in style

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 25, 2006

It was a morning of shamrocks and leprechauns, potatoes and pots of gold as

youngsters enjoyed a Saint Patrick’s celebration during &uot;Super Saturday&uot; at the Greenville-Butler County Public Library.

With Butler County School System students out of school on Friday, March 17, many had missed the chance to celebrate &uot;all things Irish&uot; in their classrooms.

However, Children’s Librarian &uot;Miss&uot; Jean Bauer, decked out in true holiday style with a green tinsel wig, shamrock glasses and a leprechaun’s top hat, gave everyone a chance to experience the luck of the Irish the next day.

&uot;It’s the season of Saint Patrick and the Irish…we don’t have to celebrate on just one day,&uot; she said with a grin as she prepared for the next group of youngsters.

Thirteen preschoolers had already enjoyed a &uot;large time&uot; at Saturday’s early session, the librarian said.

(Her own kindergartners at W.O. Parmer got to cook and eat their very own green mashed potatoes on Thursday. &uot;First they said, ‘yuck,’ then they scarped them down…they could have eaten another Dutch-oven full of those potatoes.&uot;)

More youngsters eager to celebrate the famed Irish holiday arrived for Saturday’s 11 a.m. session.

&uot;What do we think of when we think of Ireland?&uot; she asked the students as she greeted them at the door to the children’s room.




&uot;A lot of green.&uot;

&uot;Yes, we think of all those things, and we think of Saint Patrick, who is the patron saint of Ireland. But was he really Irish?&uot; Miss Jean queried.

&uot;No, he was kidnapped and brought as a slave to Ireland,&uot; a chorus of voices answered.

&uot;That’s right…and he later become a preacher in Ireland. The day he died, March 17, is the day we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day,&uot; Miss Jean explained.

The librarian shared a humorous Irish folk tale entitled &uot;Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato&uot; with the children.

&uot;What is a folk tale, children?&uot; Miss Jean asked.

&uot;It’s a made-up kind of story,&uot; a chorus of voices replied.

&uot;That’s right, and the story gets passed down from the mothers and fathers to their children, and their children’s children, and it keeps going from generation to generation,&uot; the children’s librarian explained.

In the Irish folk tale, the lazy O’Rourke makes a bargain with a wily leprechaun, who pays with magical potato seeds rather than gold.

&uot;How do leprechauns get their gold, children?&uot;

&uot;They make shoes for the fairies and the fairies pay them with gold,&uot; came the reply.

&uot;That’s right, and if you catch a leprechaun, he might want to buy his freedom by paying with a pot of gold…although this leprechaun got out of having to give up his gold, didn’t he?&uot; Miss Jean said.

After story time, the first, second and third graders present

– Jena and Julie Bae, Anna Wright, Robbie and Alex Owens, Anne Grace Hartman, Joshua Jacks, Jada Croxton and Elizabeth Kilpatrick – got their own wee-sized Irish potatoes to use for a magical project.

&uot;We’re going to use these paints to paint a face on your potato…do you see where the potatoes are cut out on the top? Well, we have something special we are going to do with that,&uot; Miss Jean explained.

Once the children had given their spuds faces, the librarian had each child stuff a few cotton balls into the hole on top of the potato, then sprinkle them liberally with grass seed.

&uot;Take these home, keep the cotton a little moist, and in a few days, your potato will have hair…it’s be so long you’ll have to get some scissors to cut it,&uot; Miss Jean said with a smile.

While the potato heads were drying, the children embarked on a new St. Patrick’s Day project – making a &uot;big giant leprechaun&uot; just like the one Miss Jean had made for the children’s room wall.

With the pieces pre-cut, the youngsters assembled their &uot;little people&uot; like puzzles, drawing in the leprechaun’s smiling and sometimes, downright silly faces.

&uot;Can I have his tongue hanging out?&uot; Robbie Owens asked.

&uot;Well, I suppose you can,&uot; Miss Jean replied.

While the students’ creations were soaking up the library glue, everyone enjoyed an appropriate St. Paddy’s Day snack of &uot;magically delicious&uot; Lucky Charms and green punch while they watched a brief cartoon on the holiday and its origins.

&uot;What did St. Patrick do that was good?&uot; the children’s librarian asked after the video.

&uot;He preached.&uot;

&uot;He taught people about Christianity.&uot;

After their Q & A session concerning all things Saint Patrick, the group went in search of the fabled &uot;pot of gold&uot; in the children’s section of the library.

It didn’t take Jada very long to discover the colorful treasure basket, filled with gold-wrapped candies for everyone to share in.

Super Saturday is held the second Saturday of each month throughout the school year at the Greenville-Butler County Public Library. Kindergartners are welcome at the 9:30 a.m. session, with first, second and third graders invited to the 11 a.m. session.

The program is free and open to all children of Butler County. This summer at the library, a six-week reading program with the theme &uot;Once Upon a Time…&uot; will invite youngsters to explore many magical tales as they enjoy arts and crafts, music, refreshments and other special activities together.

For more information, contact the library at 382-3216.