Julian at the wedding
Julian at the Wedding
Jessica Love. London: Walker Books, hb 978 1 4063 9748 2, 2020, £12.99, 32pp.
Picture book, fiction, 3+ years
This is a delightful and joyful return to the world of Julian, last seen wanting to be a mermaid in Julian is a mermaid, for which Jessica Love won numerous prizes in 2019, including both the Klaus Flugge and Bologna Ragazzi for a first book and the Stonewall prize.
Julian is back in full exuberance attending a wedding with his grandmother, a wedding where he and his new friend Marisol have a role to play. ‘A wedding is a party for love’ we read on one page, accompanied by an exquisite illustration of the two brides kissing and the children looking on. The enthusiasm and happiness of the two brides and the wonderful outfits of all, especially of the grandmothers, all testify to this celebration. Wedding duties over Julian and Marisol, together with the brides’ dog set off for an adventure. Freedom of expression, vitality and joy are apparent throughout. These are real people, beautifully observed and depicted, and the glances; the looks between the older people and the mischief of the young bring a real smile of happiness to the reader. The soft delicate colours on a pale brown paper are exquisite. Jessica Love is definitely someone to watch out for judging by these two books. She says:
My greatest hope was that the first book about Julian would find not only the kids who immediately identify with Julian, but that it would find the kids who don’t immediately understand. I wanted those kids to go on the journey with him, feel empathy when he is downcast, and elation when he finds his people. Because everyone knows what hope, shame, and joy feel like—I hoped that if I made a sort of crumb-trail of emotional identification that would bring everyone who reads the book, regardless of their background or identity, safely through the forest and out into the sunshine. My hope for the next book is that Julian’s journey into the sunshine continues, with continued emphasis on love and acceptance, and a new journey of friendship.
Review by Pam Dix