cover image Snapshots from the Wedding

Snapshots from the Wedding

Gary Soto. Putnam Publishing Group, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22808-7

Photographs of shadowboxes filled with sculpted clay figures form the eye-catching art for Soto's ""diary"" of Maya, a flower girl. The text, sprinkled with Spanish words, is eloquent and funny (a bride's hands are ""soft as doves""; a cousin wiggles his tongue ""in the space between his baby teeth, white as Chiclets"")-and it deftly captures the flavor of a Latino wedding, complete with mariachi band. Garcia's singular, deliciously creative artwork steals the show here, however. More playful than the dioramas she composed for The Old Lady and the Birds, these lifelike, three-dimensional scenes serve as an elaborate stage set. Readers will be enthralled by Garcia's use of details, from the ""actors"" and ""actresses"" decked out in wedding finery to the garlanded ribbons festooned across the shadowboxes to the objects that enhance each scene (tiny silk flowers in the bride's bouquet; potato chips on the buffet table). Using Soto's words as a springboard, Garcia tweaks the perspective, offering a legs-and-feet-only view, for instance, of a scene in which Maya describes the younger wedding guests' ""shoes off"" romp down the hallway (complete with authentically dusty soles of socks). Another ""snapshot"" shows a pair of sculpted hands holding a plate with a flower-topped slice of wedding cake. A happy marriage of talents. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)