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Tim O'Toole and the Wee Folk

Last updated Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Author: Gerald McDermott
Illustrator: Gerald McDermott
Date of Publication: 1992
ISBN: 083359043X
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2010

Synopsis: In this version of the old European tale, "The Table, the Ass, and the Stick," Tim O'Toole is so poor that his neighbors avoid him, fearing his bad luck will rub off on them. His fortune seems made, though, when he spies a band of the wee folk and demands a part of their treasure. Given a goose that lays golden eggs, Tim is unable to refrain from boasting to the greedy McGoons, who substitute their own goose for Tim's. The same thing happens to Tim's next gift, but a third gift, a hat that produces ten little men armed with tiny clubs, solves the problem. As he did in Daniel O'Rourke (Viking, 1986), McDermott has produced a rollicking tale, filled with sly Irish humor. Cheerfully vivid illustrations perfectly match the spirit of the story. Done in what appears to be chalk or pastels, the pictures are as soft and green as an Irish morning, without a hard edge or jarring note to be found. McDermott's language subtly captures the lilt and rhythm of an Irish brogue, making this an effortless read-aloud and a fine choice for programming. It's almost as good as a trip to the Emerald Isle. --Linda Boyles, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you know what Wee Folk are?
•  Who are the wee folk on the cover?
•  Do you know where Ireland is located?

. Vocabulary

•  BEMOANING -- to express distress or grief over; to regard with regret or disapproval.
•  COPPERS -- a coin composed of copper, bronze, or the like, as the U.S. cent or the British penny.
•  PORRIDGE -- a food made of oatmeal, or some other meal or cereal, boiled to a thick consistency in water or milk.
•  EKE OUT -- Supplement, make last
•  LILTING -- to sing or play in a light, tripping, or rhythmic manner.
•  MERRY MAKERS -- a person who gaily or enthusiastically takes part in some festive or merry celebration

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Is there any certain person you try to avoid?
•  Why?
•  How did the wee folk know Tim O’Toole name?
•  Does anyone know of any other story that has a Goose that lays Golden Eggs?
•  Has anyone ever been tricked like the way the McGoons keep tricking Tim?
•  How did you feel?
•  Is Tim following the directions of the wee folk?
•  At the end of the story it seems like Tim now has a large group of friends vs. in the beginning of the story when no one wanted to be Tim’s friend. Why do you think Tim has happened?

Craft ideas:
Distribute template to kids. Children can color or paint, cut out, decorate and prepare for assembly.
Craft Assembly Procedure (after pieces are colored in, decorated and cut out)
Show the small image of the finished craft (featured in the template) to help the children see how the finished craft looks and to aid them in positioning the pieces.
•  1. Assemble hat: Glue hat oval behind the rectangular piece.
•  2. Paste medium oval in horizontal position over large oval above the smile about 3/4" of upper edge.
•  3. Glue the assembled hat.
•  4. Glue eyes close to the edge of the hat and then glue nose where beard and face meet.
•  5. Tape the craft to a craft stick (Popsicle stick) to make a hand puppet.
Optional decorations:  Use wiggly eyes instead of the template eyes provided.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!