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Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato by…

Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato (edition 1997)

by Tomie dePaola

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Title:Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato
Authors:Tomie dePaola
Info:Putnam Juvenile (1997), Paperback, 32 pages
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Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie dePaola



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I chose to read "Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato" because I am a huge fan of Tomie DePaola, having read many of his books as a child. The book features DePaola's classic illustrations, which are very cute, colorful, and simple - his artwork is one of the reasons I loved DePaola's books so much when I was young. However, I really did not care for the story (which I suppose isn't really DePaola's fault as the book is an Irish folk tale)for several reasons. Jamie gets to live happily ever after off of the fruits of his neighbors labors because of a situation that came out of his own laziness. What kind of a message is that to spread to young children? Second of all, the term "potato seeds" kept being used, which is completely inaccurate because potatoes do not grow from seeds but in fact grow from the shoots of other potatoes. Even though most readers probably would not question the potato seeds, it really bothered me and kept me from enjoying the story.
  Lara.Lofdahl | Feb 1, 2014 |
Folktale about lazy man growing a big potato and not townspeople not wanting him to do anything else. *NOT good for reading to students, teaches them that laziness pays off*
  MirandaR | Dec 8, 2013 |
Pages: 28
Reading Level: 4.7

This funny little folktale about an extrememly lazy man who grows a giant potato is quite the funny little tale. I'm confused a little by the reading level but it's a great story with amazing illustrations. I'm not sure I would use this book becuase it could potentially teach students that it's ok to be lazy, which is not a thought I want my students to possess...
  TamaraBronson | Feb 27, 2013 |
In my opinion, this story contained some elements of Jack and the Beanstalk. The laziness of Jamie O'Rourke also reminded me of Rip Van Winkle, another husband who was lazy and put all the responsibility on his wife. I am still not sure if it was intentional that he would have his neighbors provide food for him or if it was pure coincidence. ( )
  lakertraw | Feb 20, 2012 |
This Irish folktale is about Jamie, a lazy farmer, who relied on his wife to do all the work. When she fell sick, he realized he would starve to death if he continued to do nothing. So, he decided to go to church and confess, but on the way there he found a leprechaun who gave him a magic potato seed. When he went back home he planted the seed and immediately a giant potato sprouted out the ground. The potato was so big that no one could dig it out of the ground. When the villagers tried to dig the potato, it flew up out of its hole, rolled down the hill and got wedged between the stone walls on either side of the road, completely blocking off the village. As a solution to this dilemma, Jamie offered the villagers to help themselves and take as much potato as they wanted. The villagers sawed and chopped pieces of potato and they all ate potato all winter long until no one wanted to see or hear of potato again. In the spring Jamie told the villagers that he had saved another magic potato eye for a seed that he is about to plant. But the villagers begged him not to plant another giant potato and promised to feed Jamie and his wife for the rest of their lives if he did not plant his magic potato. Jamie agreed and enjoyed this perfect lazy man life.

The story carries strong features of its Irish cultural background, where the language is in keeping with the oral traditions, and the characters (leprechaun and potato farmers) are in line with what one would expect from an Irish tale. The illustrations also stayed true to the cultural representation, helped the reader to visualize the story and added some fun details that extended the story and made it more interesting. In my opinion, this book is appropriate for 3-7 year old kids. Although it’s a fun and interesting story, it did not carry any true moral or message. I believe this is a story solely geared at entertaining young children without containing any constructive life lessons or teachings. ( )
  liliaabagi | Nov 6, 2011 |
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Jamie O'Rourke was the laziest man in all of Ireland.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0698116038, Paperback)

"Jamie O'Rourke is the laziest man in all of Ireland." So begins well-known children's book author and illustrator Tomie dePaola's retelling of a popular Irish folktale. Jamie is accustomed to his wife doing all the household and garden chores, so when she injures her back, he figures he's sure to starve to death. But as luck would have it, he chances upon a leprechaun. The elfin man offers Jamie the biggest "pratie" in the world in exchange for letting him go.

Feeling self-satisfied, Jamie plants the seed, which soon grows into a potato big enough to be a logistical nightmare for the village. Luckily, his wife comes through for him once again, and everyone ends up happy and full. This is not a redemptive tale--Jamie does not learn to be industrious. It is, however, a lively, simple-yet-outlandish, brightly illustrated story about a man and a potato, with a leprechaun thrown in, for luck. (Ages 4 to 8)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:16 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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

(summary from another edition)

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