cover image Wedding


Angela Johnson, David Soman. Scholastic, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-30139-5

Here comes the bride--and her younger sister, the flower girl, who offers a glimpse of what it's like to prepare for and participate in a family wedding. From trying on wedding gowns, to tasting the food that will be served at the reception and looking at party spaces, the young African-American narrator sees it all. Now Sister and Jamal's big day is here. The flower girl alternates between happiness and sadness: she's glad to be taking part in the joyous celebration, yet sorry to see her older sister leave home. Johnson's (Toning the Sweep) poetic language effectively captures the emotional roller-coaster that weddings set in motion, as seen from a kid's point of view. But her verb tenses may befuddle readers, who will wonder if the narrator is imagining the proceedings or has already experienced the event, and some of the more lyrical phrasing adds to the confusion (""I will dance with Jamal there,/ who will take Sister from me/ and us/ and here-/ but leave them together""). Soman (When I Am Old with You) judiciously accents his cut-paper collage illustrations with pencil, which allows him to vary the sharpness of detail and to zoom in on certain characters in each scene. His wide array of cut papers brings a spectrum of color, texture and pattern to the warm proceedings here. Though the development of events zigzags, the story's emotional through line keeps the book on course. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)