Tea Without Princesses

Image by Rebecca Angel


Discovery by Eileen Spinelli
The kettle is boiling
The scones are set out
The company’s hungry
And gathered about
And though you seem cozy
And snug, little mouse,
I warn you, Mom’s teapot
Is not a safe house.

Recently, a tea party was held at my homeschooling group for the youngest kids. The leader of this lovely afternoon wanted to read the kids stories while they enjoyed their fine beverage. She went to the library to find some picture books about tea parties. Since there were a mix of genders, and kids with various styles, she asked the librarian if there were tea party books that did not feature princesses and lace. The librarian replied,”Good luck.” Well, she did have luck! I attended the tea party wearing an enormous hat, and enjoyed the stories with the children (and the tea was good too!).

Tea Rex by Molly Idle is the perfect example of how illustrations can enhance a story, not just, well…illustrate it. The text is about the proper etiquette of hosting a tea party and being welcoming to your guest. But when the guest is an enormous dinosaur, it can be pretty amusing to watch.

Tea for Me, Tea for You by Laura Rader is a story of pigs, tea, and not enough room! Very funny.

I did a check on my own shelf and found these two books:

Tea Party Today: Poems to Sip and Savor by Eileen Spinelli has colorful illustrations of multi-cultural girls and boys enjoying tea with a variety of short, rhyming poems that children will enjoy. Here’s one I like a lot:

Tea Around the World
In Ireland tea is cozy.
In Russia tea is strong.
In China tea is served to guests
And sipped the whole day long.
In Burma tea is pickled.
In Turkey, sold on streets.
In England tea comes on a tray
With sandwiches and sweets.
Japan has rules for formal tea
And one is wear your socks.
Go to Tibet and you would have
To chip your tea from blocks.
Moroccans favor green tea
With mint and sugar, too.
My favorite place in all the world
For tea is home with you.

The King’s Tea by Trinka Hakes Noble was one of my favorite stories as a child. “The King’s tea had to be perfect. But sometimes things weren’t just right…” In this book, the king complains about his morning tea, and the complaints trickle down from the steward to the cook to the kitchen girl and on and on. The King is taking his walk and overhears the final blaming going on in town about whose fault it was for ruining the King’s tea. Realizing he started it all, the King goes back to his castle just in time for afternoon tea in a different mood. What happens next? Hint: It involves a tea party.

Invite your sons and daughters for tea, and enjoy some fine stories while you sip!

Rebecca Angel was one of those kids that put the dragon book on top of her pile in the hopes that someone would say, "Hey, I'm into that stuff too!" Alas, she had to wait until she was an adult to find fellow geeks. Luckily, she married one and their kids are too. Rebecca is a lover of tea, science literacy, music, funky tights, RPGs, anime, manga, comics, fantasy books and movies.