Title: Julian at the Wedding
Author: Jessica Love
Illustrator: Jessica Love
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s picture book
Book format: Hardback
Sweet Strawberries: Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet Strawberry

Description (from back of book):  A wedding is a party for love.

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is a fun story of friendship and acceptance with some amazing illustrations. ‘Julian at the Wedding’ is a hardback book almost A4 in size but square and is filled with thick matt pages of colourful illustrations and a little text. Julian and his nana are going to a wedding, once there he meets another child called Marisol. Together they play and have fun until Marisol ruins her dress with mud, but it’s okay because Julian has an idea, something magical he’s discoverd in a fairy house.

Julian at the Wedding book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

I really enjoyed the first Julian book ‘Julian is a Mermaid’ and was excited to read the second book in the series hoping it would be as good as the first. In ‘Julian is a Mermaid’, Julian wants to dress up as a mermaid, esentially dressing up like the women he’s seen, and when his nana sees him in his clothes she accepts him and the book has a positive message of acceptance and being happy with who you are. In this second book though it didn’t feel as though the story was so solid and it felt more like a simple fun tale about Julian making friends at a wedding rather than something as powerful as the first.

The story is very short and it’s hard not to give spoilers as it’s such a short tale. When Julian arrives at the wedding he meets the brides, and then spends time having fun with a girl called Marisol. The two laugh and play together with a dog, and then play a little dress up with Julian enjoying the dressing up part, similar to the way he did in the first book. Soon though Marisol gets her dress dirty in the mud and doesn’t know what to do, but Julian has an idea and finds Marisol something new to wear, something based on the magical fairy house (a tree) they were playing in. The story ends well with everyone happy and dancing and eventually the two kids tiring out at all the fun they have at the wedding. While the story is decent it just didn’t feel as special or powerful as the first Julian book did.

The illustrations are amazing, all so detailed and I just love how all the different people look and the expressions of everyone especially Julian and Marisol. The colourful outfits and happy way everyone looks at the wedding make it a beautiful celebration of love and indeed calling a wedding a celebration of love in the book is a great statement to make as this is ultimately what the book is showing. I love how well this is shown and how accepting the whole book and story is of a gay couple, in this case two brides, getting married, and Julian himself being a little different than your usual view of how boys are.

Julian at the Wedding book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

The story of Julian and Marisol and the eventual happy ending was good, and I love how the two kids are seen on the last page exhausted, something I remember being from weddings I went to as a child myself. But despite the really beautiful images, which really do look lovely on the brown background paper, and are truly gorgeous, and the wonderful way that everyone looks, it just didn’t have that beautiful heart-warming ending that I was left feeling when I read ‘Julian is a Mermaid’, and I’m not sure why.

What do you think of this book?  Have you read Julian is a Mermaid?  What do you think of the illustrations?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂