Julián at the Wedding by Jessica Love. Candlewick, 2020. 9781536212389
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Fantasy picture book
What did you like about the book? A very sweet follow up to the author’s 2018 Julián is a Mermaid. Julián and his abuela go to a wedding at the park. He meets the brides, their adorable dog, and a little girl his age named Marisol. The two kids sneak away and play fairies underneath the weeping willow, depicted in gorgeous watery turquoise. When Marisol dirties her sherbet colored dress, Julián gives her his white dress shirt to wear as a dress, with willow leaves for wings. The willow leaves transform both of them into fairies with lacy white wings like the lacy tablecloths of the wedding supper. The forgiving abuelas come get the two kids, and they all dance the summer night away. As with her first book about Julián, the text is spare, and the watercolor, gouache and ink illustrations on brown paper seem to glow with watery gem-like colors. The brown skins of the characters, and the textures of the dog fur, willow leaves, dresses and lace are achingly beautiful. Facial expressions, especially of the abuelas, are so lovingly rendered, with their wrinkles and sags, floofy hair and lipsticked lips. I so love Julián’s definition of a wedding: “A wedding is a party for love” and the brides and their families exist in a dream like aura of family love and acceptance. I know I am rhapsodizing, but this is just such a stunning book. And it is a stand alone, but you will want to pick up the first book to enjoy more of this gorgeous, accepting world.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? Fans of the first book will be thrilled to see another about Julián, and anyone who enjoys LGBTQ positive books or books about imagination will love it.
Who should buy this book? Day cares, elementary school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: December 5, 2020