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!)
Share this Post
Connect with Claudine
I slumped down on the hall bench and banged my forehead against one of the boxes I was holding. It was so unfair! The math grade, the move -- everything! Why couldn't we have just stayed in Texas?
This time, there wasn't even the prospect of moving some place decent again in a year or two either. This time, I was stuck. Forever. In population you've-got-to-be-kidding-me Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire.
In spite of my efforts to blend in and be normal, underneath I was anything but. Underneath, I was "Hi-my-name-is-Truly-and-my-father-just-lost-his-arm-in-the-war." I thought about Dad all the time. I couldn't help it. I wondered if he was scared when the bomb exploded. I wondered how he felt about losing his best friend. And I wondered if he'd ever be able to fly again?
Truly Lovejoy (yes, that really is her name) is a very tall twelve-year-old middle-child who dreads sticking out in the crowd yet secretly withers when her parents overlook her.
Her father, wounded in war, has been persuaded to return to his childhood town in Pumpkin Falls to manage the family bookstore with his feisty sister. And so the Lovejoys move to this quaint, tight town.
Truly truly tries her best to go into "stealth mode," to help out at home and at the bookstore without stirring up trouble.
Share This Post
Add to all these life at the new middle school.
And a mystery, clasped between the pages of "Charlotte's Web" found in the Lovejoy bookstore.
And new friends.
And the next clue.
And the next, next clue.
And her father, Silent Man, who sees gloom in just about everything. Will the January thaw ever arrive? Will her father eventually thaw, too?
Absolutely Truly has got many elements I like in a story: a wintry background, a protagonist who constantly feels awkward, colourful (albeit also typical) local folks like the weird cat woman or the gossipy postmistress or the helicopter mom, a big family in an old, spacious house, a chattery and well-travelled aunt, frequent mentions of donuts, pies and hot beverages, frequent mentions of literary classics, and ... a bookshop.
Oh, to own and manage a bookshop! Shelves of stories, the display according to the holidays, Story Hour, staff recommendations, new books, favourite classics, the reading nook, pretty stationery ...
Which section do you hit first in a quaint bookshop? The classics? Children's? Mystery? Romance?
Grab My Button!
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.carryusoffbooks.com/blog.html" title="CarryUsOff Books" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.weebly.com/uploads/5/6/8/1/5681205/5653609_orig.jpg" alt="CarryUsOff Books" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
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.