Story time: There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Clover by Lucille Colandro

When you think of the color green, a few things automatically spring to mind. Maybe you think of nature, trees, and the earth. You probably also think of Ireland, four leaf clovers, and St. Patrick’s Day. This association is a common misconception as the color of the order of St. Patrick is in fact a rich blue. Blue is also the official colour of the Irish state. Green, on the other hand, relates to the Father of Gaelic languages and the Gaels, the original inhabitants of Ireland.

Yet on March 17th, in countries the world over, people don the color green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Although St. Patrick’s Day originated as a religious holiday, today it has evolved into a broader celebration of Irish culture, and involves a whole lot of dancing, singing and general merry-making.

If you’re lucky, you might even see a person or two dressed up as a leprechaun! There is a lot of folklore surrounding leprechauns, but it is widely agreed that to see one is a sign of good fortune. Capture one of these illusive Irish fairies, and it is said they will grant you three wishes just like in many fairy tales. But leprechauns are notoriously mischievous creatures, so if you do happen across one, especially on St. Patrick’s Day, keep your wits about you!

Leprechaun ridding a dog from The old lady who swallowed a clover

To celebrate this boisterous Irish holiday with you children, there is a lovely little book by Lucille Colandro and illustrated by Jared Lee, that we recommend reading. There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Clover is a fun read for a St. Patrick’s Day themed story time. It’s part of a series of books whose titles begin with There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a….

The things the old lady swallowed don't make much sense to me, but I do like the musicality and rhythm of the words. You can almost sing the sentences in this book! It's also fun to read out loud to your little one, who will be repeating after you in no time, “There was an old lady who swallowed a clover…” “I don’t know why she swallowed the clover but she didn’t roll over”. When I read this with my little boy, he didn’t repeat the full sentences, but only shouted out loud laughing the words “clover” and “she didn’t roll over”.

Old lady swallowed a gold pot

Every time the old lady swallows a new item, the text repeats all the previous items she has swallowed in the same order, so this book is a good tool for working on sequencing events in a story with your little one. I actually discovered many activities related to this book that would be both educational and fun to try out after reading it. I’ve listed these activities at the end of this post for those who are interested!

Additionally, some silly animals are hidden in the pictures of this book, and my son loves to look for them. You can, for example, find an elephant on a farm or a dog riding a horse on any given page.

There are lots of possible activities around this book, but here are a few of my favorite ones:

Barrier Game by Playing with Words -

A barrier game requires two or more players sitting around a table with some kind of barrier(s) between them, so that the players cannot see each other’s materials (books, file folders, or binders work well as barriers). Every player has the same set of materials in front of them. The players take turns giving the other players very specific directions (per ability level) on how to arrange the materials in front of them, without any visual cues. The goal of the game is to have all the players’ materials look the same at the end of the activity.

Jenn's Educational Activities -

Practice vocabulary, sequencing, rhyming and more with these educational activities from a grade school teacher.

Happy reading!

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