Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman

tea partyLynn:  We strive for diversity here at Bookends so when I saw Tea Party Rules (Penguin/Viking 2013) I thought it would be good to review a picture book that focused on something besides cars, trucks, robots or dinosaurs.  What could be better than a sweet story about a tea party?  Ha!  This is a good reminder to never judge a book by its cover.  This may seem like a book about a tea party but it is really a book about  power and deception and…oops that is the book about politics that I’m reading although this seemingly sweet picture book IS about that too in a way.  It is also about friendship and how it is so much better when everyone has a role in making decisions.  Maybe we should send this book to the legislature!

Truly, this is a delightful funny story with a lovely understated message and adorable illustrations!  Little bear cub is playing in the forest when he smells cookies.  Following his nose he comes to a tea party where a stuffed bear is one of the guests.  Cub seizes his opportunity and takes the toy’s place.  A little girl comes out with more cookies and looks closely at Cub.  “You’re grubby,” the girl said.  “Tea Party Rules, you must be clean.”  Cub liked being grubby but he did want cookies so he endures baths, styling and costumes before it gets to be too much!  But even when Cub dives on the cookie plate he is willing to share and there is a really clever twist at the end.  Charming, and so funny – this one is a joy for readers who will love being in on the joke.

Cindy: How I would love to read this aloud to a storyhour or a child on a lap! I can hear the giggles as the young listeners are in on the jokes. And who can resist the lure of freshly made cookies? I’d endure a lot just like Cub. Bear’s facial expressions throughout are worth the price of admission.  In fact, all of K. G. Campbell’s illustrations are delightful. This is the perfect book to include with the gift of a china tea set. We could all use a little return to manners and civility.





About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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