cover image Now We Can Have a Wedding

Now We Can Have a Wedding

DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan, Judy Cox. Holiday House, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1342-3

A wedding just isn't a wedding without lots of good food to eat. So when Sallie announces that she's getting married, each of the neighbors in her apartment building prepares a traditional wedding delicacy in her honor. The narrator, Sallie's younger sister, travels from apartment to apartment, watching and helping as Mrs. Haru makes tai shio-yaki (a Japanese fish dish), Mr. Gonzales prepares his tamales, Signora Theodora bakes her biscotti, etc. On the big day, the wedding table is set with a fabulous multiethnic feast. Debut author Cox cleverly combines the meanings of the terms ""melting pot"" and ""pot luck."" (A similar story can be found in Sylvia Rosa-Casanova and Robert Roth's Mama Provi and the Pot of Rice.) The sturdy pacing builds on judicious repetition. The down-to-earth dialogue, meanwhile, defuses the threat of ethnic stereotyping by playing up what the characters have in common: their pleasure in preparing for a wedding and in sharing their traditions. Similarly, DiSalvo-Ryan's (City Green; Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen) breezy watercolors emphasize joyful characters and homey kitchen settings. The cozily crowded spreads, generously sprinkled with culinary equipment and foodstuffs, generate a mood of informal hospitality, just like the story. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)