When Mr. Slinger, Lilly's beloved teacher, announces his upcoming wedding, Lilly immediately begins practicing for her anticipated part as flower girl. Never mind that Mr. Slinger has not asked her to be a flower girl, as Lilly's parents gently point out. The compassionate Mr. Slinger realizes he has a problem when Lilly announces during Sharing Time that she has always wanted to be a flower girl, even more than a surgeon or a diva or a hairdresser. Then during art class, Lilly creates a detailed drawing of herself as "The World's Best and Most Famous Flower Girl!" Since Mr. Slinger has already asked his niece Ginger to be the flower girl, he invites Lilly to be her assistant. Lilly tries to build enthusiasm for this assigned role but secretly hopes that Ginger will come down with a fever or pinkeyeanything to keep her away from the wedding. Ginger does show up, but she freezes in fear and will not go down the aisle. Lilly comes to the rescue. The wedding proceeds perfectly and Lilly teaches Ginger her flower girl dance during the reception. Soon everyone, including the bride and groom, join in. Lively illustrations depict an exuberant Lilly prancing across the pages in colorful outfits complete with red boots on her feet, a red bow on her tail, and a gold crown on her head. Henkes portrays a wide range of emotions in the supporting cast of mice with simple lines expressing frustration, fear, surprise, pride, amusement, and joy. As in her previous books, Lilly emerges as a delightful character that children enjoy visiting. 2006, Greenwillow/HarperCollins, Ages 5 to 8.
Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
K-Gr 2-When her teacher, Mr. Slinger, announces that he is going to marry Ms. Shotwell, the school nurse, the indomitable Lilly takes her role as flower girl at their wedding for granted. Of course, he hasn't asked her-yet-but the young mouse commences practicing her very slow walk, eyebrows raised, hands in front grasping her imaginary bouquet. Her parents give her reasons why her plan might go awry. "Do you understand-?" they ask. "I understand that I'm going to be a flower girl," she responds. At school, she writes Mr. Slinger a note, declaring herself "The World's Best and Most Famous Flower Girl." He finally persuades her to be an assistant to his niece, and Lilly rises to the rescue in a surprise twist that satisfies everybody. Henkes's familiar watercolor cartoons elaborate on the witty text. The desperate looks on Lilly's parents' and Mr. Slinger's faces are priceless. Full-page vignettes depict the little protagonist proudly practicing her flower-girl walk, which is eventually taken up by all the wedding guests at the reception. Adults will especially enjoy the shopping scene in which the sales lady pronounces Lilly "adorable" and her Granny silently quips, "in small doses." But big doses of this feisty rodent will suit her many fans just fine.-Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Lilly, Henkes's peerless princess of mouse perfection, is absolutely certain that she is a shoo-in for the role of flower girl when her beloved teacher Mr. Slinger announces his impending nuptials. Lilly throws herself into preparations with her typical enthusiasm. When she discovers that she will not be the star flower girl, but only an apprentice to Mr. Slinger's niece, Ginger, she valiantly struggles to adjust to her new role. However, when Ginger is frozen by stage fright, Lilly naturally saves the day with elan that surpasses the most seasoned red-carpet celebrities. Henkes manages once again to present Lilly in all of her wonderful, flawed glory, and readers will continue to love her dearly for it. In between giggles, they'll get a Lilly lesson in handling disappointments with aplomb. As always, Henkes's illustrations perfectly capture every delightful nuance of Lilly's persona whether she's practicing aisle-walking "in something more appropriate" or announcing her intentions to the universe. With Lilly, it's always a big day. (Picture book. 4-8)
Lilly is one of the great female characters in literature—like Anna Karenina with whiskers or Scarlett O’Hara with paws.
Caldecott Award winner Kevin Henkes once again demonstrates perfect pitch for the emotional lives of the very young. Lilly, of course, understands the true truth: the flower girl is more important than the bride.