This beautiful picture book shows a mother applying henna to her daughter’s hands in preparation for a family wedding. As she decorates with intricate designs, the mother tells the young girl stories of her own wedding, and their extended family. Once the henna has been applied the young girl must not touch anything or put her hands down until the henna has dried. This is hard for the girl, who accidentally smudges the design a bit, and then gets henna on her mother’s scarf. The girl is worried she will ruin the stories woven into the henna. Mama is ever patient, and reassures her that all will be well. Mama helps the young girl to eat, drink, brush her teeth and wrap her hands before bed. In the morning the henna has dried and the girl is delighted with the design, which she imagines is an entire garden in her hands. The entire family gathers to celebrate the wedding, filled with pride in the stories of their homeland. Though the henna will eventually fade, the girl understands the family stories will be in her heart forever. The author’s note includes information on henna traditions throughout the world.
THOUGHTS: The bright and bold pinks, purples and deep greens used in Sandhya Prabhat’s illustrations add delight to this sweet mother-daughter relationship story. The continued theme about family stories is beautiful and the story is filled with joy and family love. A gorgeous addition for children’s library collections.