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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Here Comes the Bride, written by Beatrice Masini and illustrated by Anna Laura Cantone. Tundra, 2010. $19.99 ages 6 and up

I can't believe that I haven't posted a single book in a week...but, I have a GREAT excuse! I was in Victoria for my daughter's wedding last Wednesday and a beautiful time was had by every single person who shared Erin and Drew's very special day.

In honor of that day, I think I will tell you about a wedding book....that seems appropriate, doesn't it? On this their first week anniversary...happy, happy day to both of you!

"The big day finally came. The little church was crowded. Everyone was curious to see the bride's wedding dress. Filomena had made so many lovely gowns that hers was bound to be beautiful."

Does every girl dream of being a princess, or a ballerina, or a bride? I don't know.  Do they also dream of being a designer, an astronaut, a writer? I don't know that either. Dreams are wonderful and scary things. They dare us to go beyond what we think is possible and provide hope for many. I trust that we never stop dreaming.

Filomena is not your typical bride...or is she? She spends her days making a bride's dream come true as she listens to her customers:

"Filomena, I want to look like a dainty fairy in delicate lace!"

"Filomena, I want to look like a glamorous movie star in a shimmering satin sheath!"

Then, she creates the most wondrous dresses; but, never for herself. Filomena has a dream, too. She wants to design her own wedding dress. It turns out that she has a secret admirer. He is as close as next door. Rusty is a mechanic, and a dreamer, too. He loves Filomena but doesn't have the courage to ask for her hand. When he finally summons up the strength needed and asks, she is quick to accept his proposal, having loved him forever.

As she creates her own dress, she has no time for other pursuits. She cannot go riding with Rusty. She takes all the dreams of her customers and her own and creates a dress for her own wedding:

"It was more than a cloud. It was a blizzard of white. Her veil was more than a veil. It was a sail. Her flowers were an overgrown garden of hearts and butterflies." 

When Rusty cannot see her beneath the flowers and embellishments, he succumbs to uncertainty and runs in fear. Filomena, knowing what is truly important, follows him. As she runs, she loses parts of her dress and discards other parts, leaving her to catch him in a simple satin shift...the absolutely perfect dress:

"At the reception, nobody could stop talking about Filomena's dress. It was short, simple and elegant."

Each time I read this engaging book, I find more details in the lively collage artwork. Included are captions in English and Italian, and many funny decorations are added to capture the attention of readers and add to the humor of the story. The elongated characters are full of personality and love, appealing and memorable. The perspectives are varied, the details welcome and the tone of the book itself is charming, at a time when 'Say Yes to the Dress'  and "Bridezilla' programs give us a skewed perception of what a wedding day should be!

For those who attended the nuptials a week ago, we cannot imagine a happier pair, or a more perfect celebration! Congratulations to the delighted Mr and Mrs K!

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