Review by Booklist Review
This follow-up to the polarizing Julián is a Mermaid, winner of a 2019 Stonewall Book Award, finds young Afro-Latinx Julián participating in the wedding of two brides, along with their dog, Gloria, and another child named Marisol. After the kids sneak off to play in the "fairy house" enclosure beneath a weeping willow, a romp with Gloria ends with Marisol muddying her dress. Julián solves the problem by making her a tunic from his shirt and a boa from a willow branch. When their abuelas discover them, a moment of shame is swept away by parental pride and support. This is a work similar to its predecessor, featuring joyful exploration of gender presentation without any trauma or real conflict. The art, again set on soft brown paper, bursts with dappled color, busy with fluttering fall leaves and flower petals. The intimate details in posture and expression make Love's illustrations deeply striking, though an element of caricature in her figures ties the work inextricably to the white gaze, fogging any mirror or window some readers might have found here.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Julián is back! He is going to be in a wedding, and he arrives, dressed in a sharp lavender suit and magenta shoes, with his abuela. "A wedding is a party for love," Love (Julián Is a Mermaid) writes. Julián and flower girl Marisol, who attends in a ball cap with her own caretaker, meet each other, greet the brides--both clad in dazzling white and bright blue shoes--and walk down the aisle with dog Gloria, Marisol sprinkling petals as they go. The brides kiss, the party starts, and Julián and Marisol wander off, Julián having donned Marisol's flower wreath. When Marisol's fancy gown suffers from play with Gloria, Julián fashions her a new outfit from his dress shirt and a willow's trailing boughs--for a magical moment, inside the willow's arbor, the two become butterflies. "There you are!" the brides cry when the children rejoin the celebration, and an energetic dance party begins, the Statue of Liberty in the background. Artwork on brown paper allows warm, clear views of the characters, who appear to be Black and Afro-Latinx. The specificity of Love's characterizations--the way the abuelas kick off their high heels, the brides' enthusiasm, the children's expansive gender expressions--offers vibrancy and immediacy, and under their community's watchful eyes, Julián and Marisol find affection, acceptance, and room to grow. Ages 4--8. (Oct.)
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Review by Horn Book Review
Love's follow-up to Julian Is a Mermaid (rev. 5/18) features characters both familiar and new. At the start of the story, Julian and Abuela are strolling down the sidewalk, arm-in-arm and dressed to the nines, on their way to a wedding. They join up with a friend of Julian's, Marisol, wearing a yellow dress and backward ball cap that is soon to be replaced with a crown of flowers. Through spare text and lavish watercolor, gouache, and ink illustrations, Love paints a picture of a joyous occasion. "A wedding is a party for love," the author writes, opposite which we see Julian and Marisol posing with the brides as they share a kiss. Our two main characters steal away from the party, Julian now wearing Marisol's flower crown, and we watch their play take flight beneath a fluorescent-hued willow tree. When Marisol's dress is ruined in all the fun, Marisol puts on Julian's dress-shirt, adorned with the tree's bright cyan leaves. The scene is magical -- a magic befitting children who are uninhibited by societal gender norms and restraints. When the friends are discovered, they are not admonished but whisked away to join the brides on the dance floor. Brown craft paper is used as the book's background, adding depth to the colors throughout and emphasizing the different shades of each character's brown skin. Once again Love has brought us young characters who are free to live, play, and express themselves however they wish without conflict. An abundance of joy and love. Hill Saxton September/October 2020 p.66(c) Copyright 2020. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Mermaid-loving Julián is back! Julián and Abuela arrive at an outdoor wedding on a green lawn (discerning eyes will spy the Statue of Liberty in the distance). Both meet friends at the wedding: Abuela, a familiar friend, and Julián, a new one, Marisol. Julián and Marisol are part of the wedding, which the text proclaims is "a party for love." Julián holds the leash of Gloria, the brides' dog, and Marisol--whose baseball cap has been swapped out for a flower crown--tosses petals. Later, after Marisol gifts Julián the flower crown, Marisol, Julián, and Gloria run off to the "fairy house," or weeping willow. Marisol and Gloria have such fun that muddy paws aren't a thought...until Marisol's peach-pink dress is covered in paw prints. But never fear, innovative Julián is here! With the help of the fairy house, all's well that ends well: Marisol's hat is returned, the brides welcome the pair back, and everyone celebrates love. Love's media, applied, as in the previous book, on brown paper, create colors that appear simultaneously soft and vibrant. Most of the main characters present Black or have brown skin. As established in the previous book, Julián and Abuela are Afro-Latinx, and Abuela's friend and Marisol are also cued Latinx. A celebration of weddings and a subtle yet poignant reminder that gender, like love, is expansive. Lovely. (Picture book. 4-8.) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.