Title: The Tea Party in the Woods
Author: Akiko Miyakoshi
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Date Published: Aug. 1 2015
Page Count: N/A
E-copy of the book kindly provided, in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: When a young girl named Kikko realizes her father has forgotten the pie he was supposed to bring to Grandma’s house, she offers to try and catch him as he makes his way through the woods. She hurriedly follows her father’s footprints in the snow and happens upon a large house she has never seen before. Curious, Kikko peers through the window, when she is startled by a small lamb wearing a coat and carrying a purse. Even more surprising, the lamb speaks, asking her in a kind voice, “Are you here for the tea party?” Suddenly, Kikko realizes her trip through the woods has turned into something magical.
What drew me to this book initially, was the minimal use of colour on the cover, and secondly, the book’s title. Perhaps I can blame Lewis Carroll for this, but I always associate tea parties with fun and wonder. Then I noticed the author’s name, and since I am a big fan of Japanese storytelling, I just knew that I had to get my hands on this title.
As my star rating indicates, this book did not disappoint!
From the very first page, this book catches your attention (whether through the words which set up the story, or through the contrasted use of gray, red, and yellow). The situation is set up in the form of Kikko’s father having forgotten the pie which he had supposed to been bringing to his mother, and Kikko offers to take it and catch up to him.
The set-up of this story, of a child going off on a long journey on their own, is a trope which reminds me very much of Little Red Riding Hood as well as Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. And this trope usually indicates to me, that the child who goes off on this journey alone, will experience unforgettable and magical things.
And I was not wrong. This book is filled with animals who can talk and walks on two legs, landscapes covered in snow, steaming tea, and delicious-sounding pie.
The text in this book is always clear to read, and the amount of text-per-page is reasonable. It is just enough text to give the required information, without being an amount which would cause children to lose attention.
The illustrations are simple, but although Miyakoshi used only three colours to create these drawings, their effect is still very magical. They grab the reader’s attention in that they are simple, while also containing a good amount of detail.
Overall this was a very enjoyable book for myself as an adult, and I can assume that children would also greatly enjoy the pictures, as well as the story contained within it.
The only issue which I found with this book, was the fact that Kikko did not say “thank you” after receiving help from others. I find that a troubling amount of younger generations are lacking in manners, and while they may not listen to their parents in regard to how it is proper to act, perhaps books would have a more significant influence.
Despite this little issue which I find that I have with the book’s contents, everything else was great! I would definitely buy and recommend this book.