Julian at the wedding by Jessica Love

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Walker Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781406397482.
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. American author illustrator,Jessica Love won deserved praise for her debut picture book, Julian is a mermaid (2019) and this will be reprised for her sequel, Julian at the wedding (2020). Both books overflow with charm. They are vivacious, colourful and entertaining, warm and funny, dealing with the boy, Julian, who simply loves to dress up. Surrounded by aunties, family and friends who also rise to the occasion of a wedding, dressing in their finery, filling their hair with colour and verve, donning their most colourful and striking outfits, Julian goes to the wedding with his friend, Marisol, but they are in the wedding, not observers. Julian is dressed in an unusual blue suit, and the brides give him their dog to hold, but when the wedding breakfast is in progress, the children decide to explore the garden. Marisol plays with the dog while Julian enfolds himself in the branches of the willow tree imagining it is a fairy house. When the two friends come together again, Marisol's dress has been covered in mud. Julian has an idea and takes Marisol back under the tree.
The two children are delightful, their characters standing out to the reader as they attend the wedding, finding an adventure away from the festivities. This lovely book will be a favourite amongst readers as they pour over the detail in the images created by Love, wonder at her technique using brown paper, and look closely at the outfits worn by all the members of the wedding party. The whole oozes with love, friendship and tenderness as the two children dance around the bridal couple. I love the two books, showcasing society in all of its diversity, presenting difference and acceptance with humour, love and subtlety. Teacher's notes are available.
Themes: Friendship, Love, Weddings, LGBT.
Fran Knight