cover image Don’t Sneeze at the Wedding

Don’t Sneeze at the Wedding

Pamela Mayer, illus. by Martha Avilés. Kar-Ben, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4677-0429-8

Anna has a tickly nose, and the adults are all in tizzy: she’s the flower girl for her Aunt Rachel, and what if she sneezes while the bride and groom are having their big moment under the chuppah? Everybody has a tip to keep the “Ah-choos” in check—family members, vendors (“cherie, just say ‘pineapple’ ” says the stylist), and even Rabbi Bernstein. The cumulative list of idiosyncratic directives puts Anna in a tizzy herself; luckily, there’s one point in every Jewish wedding ceremony when no one can hear you sneeze—well, maybe except the rabbi. At first glance, the book’s framework of wedding preparations, combined with its sweet, predominantly pink cartooning might seem to rule out male readers. But Mayer (The Grandma Cure) and Avilés (The Shabbat Princess) find broad appeal and comedy in each of their vividly imagined vignettes, while the growing list of sneeze preventives should resonate with anyone who believes that grownups, too, are capable of saying the darnedest things. Ages 5–9. (Sept.)