Books by Rickey E. Pittman

Released: Sept. 15, 2011

"Entirely inappropriate for children. (song lyrics, timeline) (Nonfiction. 6-10)"
Aimed less at children and more at Southern sympathizers, this alphabet book is an ill-conceived paean to the Confederacy. Read full book review >
IRISH ALPHABET by Rickey E. Pittman
Released: March 1, 2011

This luck-of-the-Irish alphabet book cites Irish legends and symbols with intertwined one-stanza poems. Each one-page entry features tidbits of Irish culture and lore. "B is for the Blarney Stone / And for great Brian Boru. / Beware the piercing banshee's cry is / Or else she'll come for you"; "Q is for the Irish pirate queen; / Grace O'Malley was her name. / She captured many English ships, / And their treasures she did claim." (Inexplicably, pirate queen Grace O'Malley is pictured on dry land next to a castle and holding a broadsword; there's not a hint of a seafarer about the picture.) Some letters are stretches, as with most alphabet books: T is for the three colors on the Irish flag; U is for uilleann pipes; Gaelic has no letter X, except in names of Irish towns like Foxrock. And one has to wonder how many children in the book's audience will care about "J is for James Joyce." The format is typical, with color illustrations staging each ornately embellished capital letter and a few double-page spreads. One page of back matter provides a two-word glossary, a list of the 32 Irish counties and the lyrics to the song "Molly Malone." The device works tolerably but more contextualization and greater sensitivity to the audience level would have made the book more useful. (Picture book. 7-10)Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2010

This well-intentioned but incomplete biographical exploration looks at Stonewall Jackson's years as a teacher with a strong humanitarian side, rather than his better-known years as a successful Confederate general. Jackson was a professor at Virginia Military Institute prior to the Civil War, but he also served as a teacher and the first superintendent of a Sunday school for African-American children, even though such instruction was illegal in that era in Virginia. The story is told in a straightforward and interesting style, but the text blocks are crowded into pages filled with large illustrations and are difficult to read. Hosegood's loose, naïve-styled watercolor illustrations are the most successful aspect of the book. Concluding pages include a timeline of Jackson's life, an additional list of facts about the general and the words to a well-known song of the era celebrating his life. Both the text and the timeline neglect to mention Jackson's second wife and his daughter or that Jackson and his wife were slaveholders themselves. No historical reference sources are cited. (Picture book/biography. 5-8)Read full book review >