I'd love to tell you about this quiet, classy picture book this week.
Except, I can't.
Because it isn't available at my library yet. So I searched for the next best alternative and found this:
The Tea Party in the Woods, Chinese edition ~ Hurrah! The original is in Japanese. Author-Illustrator Akiko Miyakoshi's artwork and storytelling senses are brilliant.
Here's what the story is about:
The snow has stopped. Kikko's father sets off to Grandma's house to shovel snow. But wait, he has forgotten to bring a pie meant for Grandma!
Kikko offers to bring it. She walks through the silent, wintry woods alone.
She sees a shadowy figure ahead. Father! In her haste, poor Kikko trips and the pie is ruined. Though she feels like crying, she picks up the pie and runs after the figure, following him to a big house.
Not Grandma's house.
Kikko peers through the window and discovers that the shadowy figure, who has now removed his hat, is not Father at all.
It's a big bear.
Before Kikko can react, she hears a gentle voice beside her. "Are you here for the tea party?"
She turns. It's a lamb in a coat, carrying a pretty handbag.
Read this, my lovelies. It'll take you somewhere wonderful, like back to the good, simple childhood days. Read this on your bad days. Read this on a gorgeous, quiet morning. Read this during your lunch or tea break (oh yes, tea breaks would be an ideal time for reading this picture book!).
Some reviewers, individuals and journals, have referred or connected this story to Little Red Riding Hood. While I respect different interpretations, which by the way makes Reading interesting, I didn't think the reference was necessary. The Tea Party in the Woods is an entirely different type of story, full of child-like wonder and imagination, and it stands perfectly on its own. It makes you curious, it makes you feel safe and happy among animals.
Who else is at this tea party? What happens to visiting Grandma now that the pie is ruined? Find out. Find out!
Do you like simple, happy, quiet picture books? Or do you prefer those with a bolder tone, more actions and a faster pace? (I recently also borrowed To the Sea, which is more of the latter, and my niece, Olive, likes that better than The Tea Party!)
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The tiger said, "Excuse me, but I'm very hungry. Do you think I could have tea with you?"
Sophie's mummy said, "Of course, come in."
So the tiger came into the kitchen and sat down at the table.
This tiger was not kidding when it said it was very hungry. It ate all their biscuits and buns, drank their tea and milk and all the water from the tap.
It ate every morsel of food in Sophie's house.
Yet there was not a word of objection from Sophie and her mummy. They were very good hosts.
When it finished, the tiger thanked them and went off.
And it was only then did Sophie's mummy feel troubled: There wasn't any food left. No supper for Daddy!
If there ever was a more polite tiger ...
Or a more generous pair of mother and daughter.
I thought this picture book classic was charming and definitely one I'd have appreciated when I was a kid. (Although I'm not sure if most children these days would enjoy this as much.) How very British, too! Ooh, there's a ring. Who's there? It's a tiger. Oh dear, it's hungry. Of course you may come in for tea! Help yourself to all of it. Mmmh, you are really hungry, aren't you? Go ahead and check the cabinets for more food. Oh, you're done? Goodbye, take care! Oh no, there's no food left for Daddy's supper. What shall we do? Say what, Daddy? Oh, what a great idea! Let's ...
Did you host "tea parties" when you were a child? I used to do that with my sisters and we had bears and dolls as guests. I think there was a snow leopard, too ... How about you? Who were your guests?
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Hey, I'm Claudine. Welcome!
Want to know what children's stories can inspire & lead to?
by Kate Hanney
Really enjoyed the honest voice of this narrator ~ a teenager let down by his mother and the foster care system, and almost-picked up through his involvement with a gang.