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CONFEDERATE ALPHABET by Rickey E. Pittman

CONFEDERATE ALPHABET

By Rickey E. Pittman (Author) , Stephanie Ford (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-58980-760-0
Publisher: Pelican

Aimed less at children and more at Southern sympathizers, this alphabet book is an ill-conceived paean to the Confederacy.

Each letter of the alphabet is accompanied by an illustration and a short, often limping verse, most of which feature people and events that will be unfamiliar to today’s young readers (not to mention the general adult population, Civil War buffs notwithstanding). Unfortunately, the text lacks explanatory notes to give these items context and fails to provide an overarching narrative of the polemical version of the Civil War story it seems to take for granted. Take F, for example: “F is for the flags / Of the old Confederacy; / And for Nathan Bedford Forrest / A devil to every Yankee!” No further description of Forrest or his role in the war is forthcoming. Further, the narrator’s intense identification with the Confederate cause comes through clearly when he uses the first person (“D is for bright ‘Dixie,’ / A song we love to hear”) and in verses such as, “Y is for the Yankees, / The enemy in blue, / Invading beloved Dixie / To conquer and subdue.” Slavery is not mentioned in the text, yet the illustrations feature white and black soldiers fighting side by side for the Confederacy as well as a black woman comforting a white child as flames rage in the background. Absent historical context and competing perspectives, this far-from-center picture book lacks educational or entertainment value and is little more than propaganda designed to perpetuate “the South will rise again” mentality.

Entirely inappropriate for children. (song lyrics, timeline) (Nonfiction. 6-10)