Review of The Ring Bearer

The Ring Bearer
by Floyd Cooper; illus. by the author
Primary    Philomel    32 pp.    g
4/17    978-0-399-16740-9    $16.99

Mama is getting married, leaving Jackson to worry about his place in the new arrangement. What will he call Mama’s new husband? How will it work out with a new sister? But for now, one question plagues him: how will he safely navigate the long church aisle without tripping and falling or dropping the rings, especially with sister-to-be Sophie skipping ahead of him with the flower petals? Luckily for both children, Jackson proves to himself and the whole church that he is not only a capable ring bearer but a caring brother as well. Cooper’s soft “subtractive process” art, which he accomplishes by using an eraser over chalk, reflects the warm feel of this special family day. Here we have Bill, the stepdad, somberly passing the rings to Jackson. Next, Bill hoists Jackson to his shoulders in a joyous celebration. Sophie receives her petals from Grandpop, her serious eyes taking in every instruction. When Sophie stumbles, both children have matching “ooohs” on their lips, their bodies close as Jackson catches Sophie. Careful readers will wonder how the rings ended up in Jackson’s pocket after the spill but will appreciate how Jackson’s eyes shine with the emotion of the wedding; the close-ups are especially evocative. Many children experience parental weddings, and these times are filled with joy and nervousness. Cooper captures each moment.

From the May/June 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Robin Smith
Robin Smith
Robin Smith is a second-grade teacher at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a reviewer for Kirkus and The Horn Book Magazine and has served on multiple award committees.

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