Emma’s older cousin Hannah is getting married, and she wants Emma to be the flower girl and wear a celery (colored) dress. Emma also learns that she is going to walk down the aisle with someone named Jacob who is the ring bear[er]. In the spirit of Amelia Bedelia, Emma imagines these things literally, and is surprised to find out that she’s not going to dress up like a flower, or wear a frock made out of celery, or walk down the aisle with a bear. But the biggest surprise is when she meets Hannah’s intended, a woman named Alex. The fact that there are two brides is unexpected, yet the beauty of this book is how quickly that knowledge normalizes into tradition. The wedding takes place in a synagogue under a chuppah, where the female rabbi reads the ketubah and says the seven wedding blessings. Hannah and Alex both stomp on wine glasses at the end of the ceremony and are carried around the dance floor on chairs. By framing same sex marriage as just another assumption to be disabused, the whole book maintains a light and celebratory tone as befits a book about families gathering to celebrate a simcha. Watercolor and pencil illustrations add just the right note of humor and joy.
The Flower Girl Wore Celery
Teri Markson has been a children’s librarian for over 18 years. She is currently the acting senior librarian at the Valley Plaza Branch Library in North Hollywood, CA.
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