Callin' All O'Connors! S Is for Shamrock by Eve Bunting
O IS FOR O'
O'NEILL, O'BRIAN, AND O'DEA,
O'ROURKE, O'CONNOR, AND O'SHEA--
IRISH NAMES THAT START WITH O'
PASSED DOWN FROM KINFOLK LONG AGO.
It's time to pass out the shamrocks, buss the Blarney Stone, and look for leprechauns, and with the luck o' the Irish on her side, the notable Irish-American author Eve Bunting and Sleeping Bear Press are here with an alphabet book published just for St. Patrick's Day, S is for Shamrock: An Ireland Alphabet (Discover the World).
Some standard symbols are included, leprechauns with pots of gold and shamrocks with leaves of three, as well as many lesser-known icons of Ireland--Claddagh rings, the Book of Kells, Queen Maeve, Hugh O'Neill's "Red Hand" on the Ulster flag, and Hedge Schools, (secret schools held for children when education was forbidden by the English Crown.)
Bunting doesn't overlook the Irish diaspora either, describing the out-migration resulting from the Potato Famine, noting that an Irish girl, Annie Moore, was the first ever immigrant to set foot on the brand-new intake center at for Ellis Island, memorialized in a statue there and Cork Harbor from which she sailed. With listings for such nuggets of trivia as Riverdance and the S.S. Titanic, built in Belfast, Bunting does her best to hit as many notables as the 26 letters allow, admitting that there is no "X" in the Gaelic language and giving Z short schrift to the entry for Zed, which substitutes in Ireland for the English letter "Zee."
Another honorary son of the Auld Sod, Matt Faulkner, adds the detailed artwork, ably executed in pencil and watercolors for each double-page spread, making this one a lucky read-aloud choice for elementary groups. With a world map indicating the location of the Emerald Isle and a map of the island as well, Bunting offers a wee bit of geography and history here along with her folklore. S is for Shamrock: An Ireland Alphabet (Discover the World) joins other geographic abecedariuses from Sleeping Bear Press, including B is for Bagpipes: A Scotland Alphabet (Discover the World), P is for Pinata: A Mexico Alphabet (Discover the World), T is for Taj Mahal: An India Alphabet (Discover the World), C is for Ciao: An Italy Alphabet (Discover the World), K is for Kabuki: A Japan Alphabet (Discover the World), and others in this mini-geography genre series, all well suited for short social studies read-alouds at school and lap tourist tours at home.