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Brenda Berman, Wedding Expert
     

Brenda Berman, Wedding Expert

by Jane Breskin Zalben, Victoria Chess (Illustrator)
 

A contemporary, tongue-in-cheek look at a wedding that doesn’t go according to plan. Brenda Berman intends to have a starring role in her uncle’s wedding, but then he elopes.

Overview


A contemporary, tongue-in-cheek look at a wedding that doesn’t go according to plan. Brenda Berman intends to have a starring role in her uncle’s wedding, but then he elopes.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“[A] lively early chapter book. . . . Brenda’s robust personality drives the narrative as well as the art, as Chess’s folksy watercolors capture the girl’s expressions, which vacillate wildly between outrage and exhilaration.”—Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

Zalben’s tale, divided into five chapters, conveys the warmth and zaniness that can make families simultaneously maddening and wonderful. . . . Brenda’s endeavors to reconcile her hopes with reality tell a tale of acceptance that will help young readers struggling with their own life transitions.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A warm celebration of family and love.”—Booklist

Zalben’s lighthearted tale of flower girl dreams gone awry offers a solid presentation of character growth.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

 

Publishers Weekly

Entertainingly headstrong Brenda is devastated that her favorite uncle is getting married. And her longstanding dream of wearing a gold lamé flower girl frock fizzles when she hears that the bride, Florrie, envisions her flower girls in lavender taffeta. On top of that, she'll be walking the aisle with Florrie's niece, Lucy, whose golden curls are a far cry from Brenda's "strands of spaghetti" tresses. Just when she's sure things can't get any worse, her uncle and Florrie elope. Since they now have "robbed her of her happiness not once but twice," Brenda announces, with characteristic melodrama, "I'm never, ever going to speak to them again for as long as I live." Not easily defeated, Brenda and Lucy pull together a heartwarming after-the-fact celebration. Cake and punch recipes make for an appropriately festive appendix to this lively early chapter book from the creators of Baby Babka, the Gorgeous Genius. Brenda's robust personality drives the narrative as well as the art, as Chess's folksy watercolors capture the girl's expressions, which vacillate wildly between outrage and exhilaration. Ages 6-9. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Children's Literature - Heather Christensen
When Brenda's favorite uncle decides to get married, Brenda is sure her life will never be the same. To add insult to injury, Florrie—Uncle Harry's bride to be—has chosen lavender for her wedding color, destroying Brenda's dream of wearing a gold lame flower girl dress with sparkly shoes. But the worst news is that not only does she have to share her uncle with Florrie, but with her niece Lucy as well. Then she learns of the ultimate betrayal—Harry and Jessie have decided to skip all the wedding fuss and instead eloped to Hawaii. Now Brenda and Lucy must join forces to plan the wedding of their dreams. Zalben's story is a fun tale of family change and acceptance. Brenda's reaction to each disappointment is not only believable but also very funny. Chess' watercolor illustrations complement the story—Brenda's not a precious doll face, but a real kid with freckles, stringy hair and plenty of character. The book's format may turn away some readers—it is a transitional chapter book that looks a lot like a picture book. Fans of Junie B. and Judy Moody appreciate Brenda's panache. Recipes for wedding cake, frosting, and punch are an added bonus. Reviewer: Heather Christensen
School Library Journal

Gr 2-4

Brenda Berman cannot believe that her Uncle Harry had the audacity to become engaged without consulting her. Now, soon-to-be Aunt Florrie is at the heart of her woes. Accented with a Jewish flavor, the story of Brenda's struggle to accept the woman and her niece, while told in a simple and humorous manner, reveals the heartache many children feel when adult family members become engaged, married, or even begin to date seriously. Brenda slowly matures, and by the end of the book she and her cousin throw a mini-wedding for the happy couple. Although this title would make a worthy addition because of its topic, the audience is unclear. The cartoonlike watercolor illustrations, which adorn almost every spread, will appeal to young children, but the lengthy text, divided into five chapters, lends itself to older readers. An additional purchase, best suited for family read-alouds.-Adrienne Wilson, Edith Wheeler Memorial Library, Monroe, CT

Kirkus Reviews
When her Uncle Harry becomes engaged, Brenda reluctantly adjusts to the concept of a new aunt and cousin. Although Aunt Florrie's niece, Lucy, happens to be the same age as Brenda, the girls are polar opposites. While Brenda dreams of a gold lame flower-girl dress, Lucy desires nothing more than to be swathed in lavender taffeta. The duo's arch rivalry is derailed by Harry and Florrie's surprise elopement, which unites Brenda and Lucy in mutual dismay over missing their big bridal debut. Zalben's tale, divided into five chapters, conveys the warmth and zaniness that can make families simultaneously maddening and wonderful. Brenda's unique personality, a beguiling blend of sass and vulnerability, is reflected in Chess's watercolor illustrations. The distinctive sketches skillfully illuminate Brenda's spunk and individuality. Brenda's endeavors to reconcile her hopes with reality tell a tale of acceptance that will help young readers struggling with their own life transitions. (Fiction. 6-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618313211
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
05/18/2009
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author


Jane Breskin Zalben has written and illustrated many distinctive picture books, including Pearl's Eight Days of Chanukah and the best-selling Beni holiday series. She is also a cookbook writer, the author of six novels for older readers, and a painter of abstract art. The mother of two grown sons, she lives on Long Island, New York, with her husband, Steven.

Victoria Chess is the illustrator of Good Night Dinosaurs. She has also illustrated many other successful picture books for children, including the popular Slugs by David Greenberg (Little, Brown). She lives in Warren, Connecticut.

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