Howard, Elizabeth Fitzgerald. 2004. Flower Girl Butterflies. Ill. by Christiane Kromer. New York: Greenwillow Books. ISBN 068817809X
B. Plot Summary
Little Sarah's Aunt Robin is getting married, and she has asked Sarah to be her flower girl! Sarah has never been a flower girl and is both excited and a little scared that she might mess up. However, Sarah gets all caught up in the excitement and has a much fun at the wedding as the bride and groom.
C. Critical Analysis
Mrs. Howard has written a delightful story from a young flower girls' point of view. While the illustrations depict an African-American family, no where in the story are there any true cultural markers. The story focuses on Sarah, the newly chosen flower girl and her observations about the upcoming wedding from choosing the perfect flower girl dress, to relatives coming to stay the weekend, to the "...man in the brown truck..." who delivers wedding presents, to the rehearsal where the little boy who is to be the ring bearer pitches a fit and refuses to perform in the ceremony, to the big day itself complete with a successful trip down the aisle for the nervous flower girl, and finally a fun-filled reception at the end.
The story is every little girls' dream of being a flower girl. The details given transcends all cultures: it is a lovely story of a little girl who gets to be her aunt's flower girl.
The illustrations by Christiane Kromer give the only hint of any culture in the book. Every page is covered with depictions of the wedding activities~only then is any culture evident in the characters hair, hair styles, facial features, and skin color.
D. Review Excerpts
School Library Journal All of the excitement and anxiety of a wedding day are captured in this charming picture book. When young Sarah is asked to be a flower girl in her Aunt Robin's wedding, the child is consumed with doubts. She worries that she will forget to throw her flowers. She's nervous about tripping in front of everyone, getting sick, or ruining her new dress. With the loving reassurance of her African-American family, she calms her fears enough to walk down the aisle. After all, she has to be a "big girl" role model for the little ring bearer. This book is a wonderful celebration of family as the grandmothers and several uncles and cousins come to spend the night before the wedding at Sarah's house. Sarah's big moment is a perfect splash of pink background and scattered pink petals with the child's dark skin gleaming against her white flower-girl dress. The lovely bride, in a frothy white gown, follows. The collage textures added to the watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations give the book a tactile look. A warm, family-oriented story that children will love.-Janet M. Bair, Trumbull Library, CT
Younger readers can share stories of weddings they have attended or if they have ever been in as a flower girl or bride's maid.
Compare this text's traditional American wedding with stories of weddings in other countries.