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Friday, September 15, 2017

The Ring Bearer, written and illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Philomel, Penguin. 2017. $22.99 ages 3 and up

"The music starts and Sophie
takes off. Grandpop nudges
Jackson to get him going, too.
Jackson walks slow and steady
while Sophie skips ahead,
ignoring Grandpop's advice.

Mama's having a wedding,
and Jackson has
an important job to do,
no matter what ... "

No one is more fun to watch at weddings than the children in attendance, especially those who are part of the ceremony itself. You never know what might happen. You know, for sure, they are going to be precious to watch. It is, with great delight, guests gaze on in wonder as they make their way up the aisle. Later, they will join in the merriment with less pressure for performance, thank goodness.

Jackson is ring bearer for his mom's wedding. Sophie is the flower girl for her dad. The two youngsters, who will soon become a new family, have an important role to play. Jackson is a bundle of nerves, wondering how this new family will work, and worrying about the very important job he has during the ceremony.

"Jackson smiles on Bill's shoulders,
but inside he thinks, Mama's having a wedding
and I have to carry the rings,
but I don't want to trip in front of everyone
and mess it all up.
Maybe Bill should
carry the rings!"

Sophie has no such worry, hurrying off with her basket in hand and strewing flower petals at a furious clip as she goes. When he notices that Sophie is heading for disaster, Jackson quickly assumes the 'big brother' role and sets things right!

Perfection! This family story is shared with warmth and great affection. Simply told and easy to follow, it is also sharp and expressive in comparing Jackson's two roles ... at the wedding and in the new blended family. Reassuring and accompanied by Floyd Cooper's winning portraits of the day's stars and wedding scenes, it's the 'just right' gift for those who assume such important duties on a very memorable day.

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