cover image Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding

Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding

Lenore Look, , illus. by Yumi Heo. . Atheneum/Schwartz, $16.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-689-84458-4

The team behind Henry's First-Moon Birthday here follows a boisterous modern-day Chinese family through a traditional wedding and again lets readers in on some unusual customs. Jen once again narrates, teaching about such traditions as bargaining for the bride ("to show how much [the groom will] give for her love")—but with a heavy dose of humor ("First Uncle Peter offers bus tokens. Then an earring")—and bridal clothing ("red red red to bring good luck"). But between the lines, she also reveals her sadness about losing her best buddy—Uncle Peter—to someone else ("I'm his special girl. Just me . I am the jelly on his toast. And the leaves in his tea. Now, I am an umbrella turned inside out"). Nothing seems to go Jen's way: her cousins get candy, while she's left with tofu chips, and during the wedding pictures she feels like "cosmic dust." Fortunately the happy-go-lucky artwork echoes the day's joyous mayhem and provides a clue that she won't be unhappy for long. Heo decorates the pages with background details that tie in with the text—toast with jelly, cooing lovebirds, entwined rings and even the heroine's miserable expression. While the book is a fascinating look at Chinese wedding rituals, it's a standout because of its appealing narrator. With her true-to-life voice, Jen conveys real feeling—making her a memorable model to kids facing change. Ages 4-8. (Jan.)