Review Blog

Jun 05 2012

The perfect flower girl by Taghred Chandab

cover image

Ill. by Binny Talib. Allen and Unwin, 2012. ISBN 978 1 74237 573 1.
(Ages 7+) Warmly recommended. Picture book. Multicultural Australia. I was initially taken back by this startlingly pink book, but on opening the pages and reading this splendid story, was hooked into finding out more about Lebanese Australians and their customs.
Amani's aunt is to be married, and the little girl will be a flower girl. The process before the wedding is told through the her eyes as the families prepare themselves for the big day. Flower girls, a hen's party the night before, rose petals scattered before the bride and groom, lots of food, a tiered cake, a reception with ribboned chairs, fittings for the bridal clothes . . . it could be any wedding, anywhere, but this is Lebanese Muslim wedding, and the similarities will be familiar to all readers. The differences are not underlined but told as past of the story of Amani, and as such will be easily assimilated by the readers. The illustrator, Talib, has included many things for readers to spot: the range of people at the wedding, for example, not all the women wearing head scarves, the array of food, the fittings at shop where the tailor is Muslim - each page has an image to be scrutinised and discussed along with the text.
Not only am interesting tale, well told, but this book is a wonderful introduction to a class and its look at multicultural Australia, the customs of a range of Australians and their similarities and differences. Information is given at the start of the book about the Lebanese Muslim wedding, and a glossary of terms added which will be a good place to start with the class, learning the names and pronunciations of a new range of words. With an emphasis on multiculturalism in the new curriculum, this will be a must for libraries.
Fran Knight

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