The Ring Bearer

illus. by Floyd Cooper. 32p. ebook available. Philomel. Apr. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399167409.
K-Gr 2—It's the day Jackson's mother is getting married, and the boy is anxious about many things. He is the ring bearer, and he's concerned about tripping as he goes down the aisle. Jackson is also getting a new stepsister named Sophie, and he's not sure what to think about that. He's also not sure about calling the man he knew as Bill "Dad." Sophie is the flower girl, and with a little coaching from Grandpop, the kids are ready to go down the aisle. Ignoring Grandpop's advice, Sophie skips instead of walking slowly, and trips on a step. Jackson sees what's happening, catches her before she falls, and saves the day to cheers and applause. Cooper's signature grainy paintings work in tandem with the text. His style is timeless; the pictures represent events that could have happened 50 years ago or just last week. The repetition of words and phrases will bolster confidence in young readers just as Jackson's confidence is built up by his family's loving kindness.
VERDICT Children will identify readily with Jackson's fears and enjoy the way he overcomes them. A solid purchase for any picture book collection.

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