By: Rickey E. Pittman
Illustrated by: Connie McLennan
Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company
Publication Date: January 2011
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: February 12, 2011
“Ce’ad mi’le fa’ilte” (One hundred thousand welcomes) is the first thing the reader of the Irish Alphabet will see upon opening the book. And for the young reader (and parent) interested in Irish culture and lore, they’ll feel quite welcome as they read through the pages of this enjoyable book.
Author Rickey Pittman takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of Ireland, her people, legends, famous landmarks, battles, and even musical instruments as he runs through every letter in the alphabet. We learn about the Rock of Dunamase, the pirate queen Grace O’Malley, Finn MacCool, and the uilleann pipes as well as the more recognizable St. Patrick, W.B. Yeats, and of course, leprechauns. We also read of folk tales such as:
D is for the Faerie Dullahan,
A harbinger of death.
Riding a black steed,
He just may steal your breath.
The Irish Alphabet has a definite Christian bent as there are several Christian references in the book. These include St. Patrick, the Celtic Cross, and the Trinity. However, these references are not obtrusive and fit well with the overall theme of this book.
The illustrations in Irish Alphabet are quite nice and the illustrator is to be commended for working the themes so well into her drawings. My favorite is a two-page spread that uses the Irish flag as the background and is blended so well you may not first notice that it is the flag. On one side is a cute sparrow perched on a bright purple “S”, surrounded by shamrocks and on the other page is a teapot, teacup and tea page, decorated with shamrocks. It’s a very nice visual presentation.
There is a brief glossary in the back with a few terms explained, plus a listing of the 32 counties of Ireland and the lyrics to “Molly Malone.”
Quill says: For fans of Irish lore, the Irish Alphabet is sure to please.