Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight - PAL­LAS GATES MCCORQUODALE

Denise Bren­nan-nel­son, Cyd Moore, il­lus­tra­tor Sleep­ing Bear Press, Hard­cover $16.99 (32pp) 978-1-58536-966-9

en­cour­ages self-ex­pres­sion, pos­i­tive think­ing, and pur­su­ing what­ever makes you happy.

Wil­low’s zest for life and love for her fam­ily takes cen­ter stage in Denise Bren­nan-nel­son’s Wil­low and the Wed­ding, the story of how one bare­foot flower girl’s thought­ful­ness and com­pas­sion un­in­ten­tion­ally heal years of emo­tional pain and heartache.

It’s a well-known fact that Un­cle Ash does not dance. Ever. Con­cerned that he will miss out on his wed­ding day, Wil­low is de­ter­mined to get Ash moving to the mu­sic, es­pe­cially when she learns that he once loved danc­ing more than any­thing.

Told from Wil­low’s point of view, the up­lift­ing mes­sage of do­ing what you love, re­gard­less of what any­one else thinks, is ap­pro­pri­ate for all ages. Themes of bul­ly­ing, teas­ing, hu­mil­i­a­tion, and aban­don­ment are sub­tle but still present as Wil­low fo­cuses on help­ing Un­cle Ash re­dis­cover his love of danc­ing with­out fear or hurt.

Cheer­ful and fluid, sweet and col­or­ful, il­lus­tra­tions by Cyd Moore fol­low Wil­low and Un­cle Ash as they cud­dle dogs at the shel­ter, slide on the play­ground, goof off with dough­nuts, and walk down the aisle.

The em­bod­i­ment of un­con­di­tional love and con­fi­dence, Wil­low is al­ways in mo­tion, noth­ing damp­ens her ex­cite­ment. When Cousin Joe be­gins whis­per­ing that he’s “never been to a wed­ding like this be­fore,” Wil­low’s per­fect re­sponse, “Isn’t it splen­did?” sets the tone for a lovely sun­set wed­ding com­plete with seashells, palm trees, and, of course, danc­ing.

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