The Flower Girl Wore Celery

Meryl G. Gor­don; Hol­ly Clifton-Brown, illus.

  • Review
By – March 27, 2017

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.

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.

Discussion Questions