Sona and the Wedding Game by Kashmira Sheth, illustrated by Yoshiko Jaeggi
Sona’s sister is getting married: “There is so much to do. Even I have a job!” Sona exclaims with excitement. Relatives from India have arrived, and so many more friends and family have all gathered, “turning our house into a festival.” Amidst the ongoing hustle-bustle of preparations – from making and hanging garlands, to mixing a shimmery concoction that will make the bride glow, to decorating the floor with exquisite rangoli designs made of colored sand – Sona has to figure out how to steal the groom’s shoes! “‘It’s a tradition for the bride’s sister,'” Sona’s grandmother explains. “‘It’s a way for our families to get to know each other.'”
Sona, who has never been to a wedding before, enlists the help of her nuptials-savvy, albeit younger cousin Vishal. When the wedding couple enter the mandap – a sacred canopy where prayers and vows are exchanged – they must remove their shoes. The groom’s brother, tasked with protecting the sought-after feet attire, takes his responsibility quite seriously. But watch out: Sona and Vishal are about to set the perfect plan in motion …
Indian-born Kashmira Sheth confesses in her ending “Author’s Note,” that she has never had the opportunity of stealing the groom’s shoes: “Unfortunately … I don’t have older siblings.” But she’s been to plenty of weddings, three of which inspired this book: her daughter’s, her aunt’s which she attended at age 4, and a real-life princess’s at age 7 (complete with galloping white horse!).
Reminiscing over photographs from her older daughter’s ceremony, “it became obvious that a picture book about an Indian wedding would be delightful.” Artist Yoshiko Jaeggi got just the right picture(s), as she creates spread after spread of kaleidoscopic splendor filled with anticipation, mischief, and beaming joy. Let the multi-culti celebrations begin …