Who would have thought that the bride’s younger sister must steal the groom’s shoes at an Indian wedding ceremony? Not Sona.
Sona, a young Indian-American girl, learns about the traditional wedding customs of her family's region during the preparations for her sister’s marriage. Her dadima (grandmother), visiting for the celebration along with her grandfather and younger cousin Vishal, asks her to steal the groom’s shoes. Sona hasn’t heard about this custom, and Vishal, knowledgeable about weddings because he has gone to many at home, tells her “[i]t’s like a fun game.” Before the wedding day, Sona helps to rub a special cosmetic paste on her sister’s skin and decorates the house with garlands and rangoli designs. She attends the mehndi party, where an artist paints henna designs on all the women and girls. But all during these preparations, she is thinking about how best to pull off the shoe caper. Finally, the wedding itself starts, with the groom riding a white horse. (Often in the United States, a car or horse-drawn carriage is substituted, as explained in the excellent author’s note.) The whole ceremony is described in detail, but it is Sona and Vishal’s part in the shoe-stealing game that will engage young readers. The artist’s research shows in every double-page spread, and she does a wonderful job of creating a diversity of expressions in her lively watercolors.
Everyone will want to attend this wedding. (Picture book. 6-9)