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Snapshots from the Wedding

Snapshots from the Wedding

by Gary Soto, Stephanie Garcia (Illustrator)

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Snapshots from the Wedding


Snapshots from the Wedding

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The text, sprinkled with Spanish words, is eloquent and funny — and it deftly captures the flavor of a Latino wedding, compete with Mariachi band. Garcia's singular, deliciously creative artwork...is eye-catching." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"There's nothing like a wedding, and this book about a wedding is not quite like any other....Maya, the flower girl, is the lens through which the action is seen. All of the fun of a wedding is here: the altar boy with the dirty sneakers under his gown, Maya putting pitted black olives on each of her fingers, the kids whacking each other with balloons....The choice of three dimensional artwork was inspired." — Booklist (starred review)

Winner of the Pura Belpré Award for Illustration
A Booklist Editors' Choice
A Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Blue Ribbon Winner

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Photographs of shadowboxes filled with sculpted clay figures form the eye-catching art for Soto's "diary" of Maya, a flower girl. The text, sprinkled with Spanish words, is eloquent and funny (a bride's hands are "soft as doves"; a cousin wiggles his tongue "in the space between his baby teeth, white as Chiclets")-and it deftly captures the flavor of a Latino wedding, complete with mariachi band. Garcia's singular, deliciously creative artwork steals the show here, however. More playful than the dioramas she composed for The Old Lady and the Birds, these lifelike, three-dimensional scenes serve as an elaborate stage set. Readers will be enthralled by Garcia's use of details, from the "actors" and "actresses" decked out in wedding finery to the garlanded ribbons festooned across the shadowboxes to the objects that enhance each scene (tiny silk flowers in the bride's bouquet; potato chips on the buffet table). Using Soto's words as a springboard, Garcia tweaks the perspective, offering a legs-and-feet-only view, for instance, of a scene in which Maya describes the younger wedding guests' "shoes off" romp down the hallway (complete with authentically dusty soles of socks). Another "snapshot" shows a pair of sculpted hands holding a plate with a flower-topped slice of wedding cake. A happy marriage of talents. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Janet Morgan Stoeke
If you've ever wanted to tell a kid what it will be like at Aunt So-and-So's wedding, this book will help. Maya is Isabel's flower girl, thrilled to be wearing flowers in her hair, and telling every detail of the day as only a little kid can. "Then everyone claps and some people hug the bride/ A hundred times, it looks like to me." Shadow boxes filled with Sculpy clay figures seem to be portraits of real Mexican-American people, not just generic bride, groom and family. There is a brief glossary for the handful of Spanish words that appear here and there. The mustachioed mariachi band is delightful, all decked out in their finery. Important bits of art seem to have been mistakenly stuck in the gutter, which is too bad, but overall the impression is lush and inviting.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5Soto's picture book provides a glimpse into an American cultural traditiona wedding with a Hispanic flair. Maya, the narrator, is a flower girl. Mariachi musicians provide the music, and for dinner the family and friends eat pollo con mole. There is a glossary for the handful of Spanish terms sprinkled throughout the text. Garcia's illustrations are wonderful. Sculpy clay figures are dressed up and carefully arranged in a wooden shadow box frame, and each page is set on a background of pastel with lace. Quirky tidbits sneak into the text and picturesTo Juan itches in his new shirt, Maya sticks black olives on her fingertipsthese details give the narration the quality of childlike observation. The language at other times is quite sophisticated. Children who have been involved in a family wedding will easily draw comparisons to this story.Sharon R. Pearce, San Antonio Public Library, TX
Kirkus Reviews
From Soto (Off and Running, 1996, etc.), a celebratory, child's-eye look at a wedding that captures the traditional mingling of the surreal and the sublime. A flower girl, Maya, tells in a pitch-perfect accent about the groom, Rafael, who is at the altar with his arm in a cast (he slid into home playing softball and scored, but broke his wrist), and a host of other relatives and strangers. Crying babies, the altar boy's dirty sneakers, an inconvenient sneeze, and the glow in the bride Isabel's eyes are reported with equal fervor. At the reception, Maya puts a pitted olive on each finger, finds mole sauce on her gown, and dances, riding on her father's feet. While the family is Mexican-American, the wedding's touching and silly moments are universal. Garcia's illustrations, photographs of Sculpy clay figures and collage, are pink and white and delicious, reminiscent of both reredos and scenes from a dollhouse.

With all the problem books in the world, it's a delight to encounter one that talks about a happy event and its attendant joys. This is a triumph of true-to-life storytelling, with all the good parts left in.

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.13(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Dr. Short is a division director at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) in Washington, D.C. She has worked as a teacher, trainer, researcher, and curriculum/materials developer. Her work at CAL has concentrated on the integration of language learning with content-area instruction. Through several national projects, she has conducted research and provided professional development and technical assistance to local and state education agencies across the United States. She directed the ESL Standards and Assessment Project for TESOL and co-developed the SIOP model for sheltered instruction.

Dr. Short's monographs include: Extend Your Students' Reach and Move Them Toward Independence, Base Your ESL Instruction in the Content Areas, Reach for the Common Core, Structural Supports for English Learners, Comprehensive and Responsive Assessment, and Developing Academic Literacy in Adolescents.

Dr. Tinajero specializes in staff development and school-university partnership programs and has consulted with school districts in the U.S. to design ESL, bilingual, literacy, and bi-literacy programs. She has served on state and national advisory committees for standards development, including the English as a New Language Advisory Panel of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards and the Texas Reading Academies. She is currently professor of Education and Interim Dean of the College of Education at the University of Texas at El Paso and was President of the National Association for Bilingual Education, 1997-2000.

Dr. Tinajero's monograph is titled Teaching the Fundamentals.

Dr. Schifini assists schools across the nation and around the world in developing comprehensive language and literacy programs for English learners. He has worked as an ESL teacher, reading specialist, school administrator and university professor. Through an arrangement with California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, Dr. Schifini currently serves as program consultant to two large teacher-training efforts in the area of reading for second language speakers of English. His research interests include early literacy and language development and the integration of language and content-area instruction.

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