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How to Behave at a Tea Party by Madelyn Rosenberg/Book Giveaway

Written by Madelyn Rosenberg & Illustrated by Heather Ross
(Katherine Tegen Books, $17.99, Ages 4-8)


How to Behave at a Tea Party cover girl standing on table





I LOVE all things tea party and Madelyn Rosenberg’s How To Behave at a Tea Party is no exception. I found myself itching to know how this adorable and entertaining picture book ended because its premise – not all tea parties go according to plan – is such fun! The cover, with the tea party hostess’s younger brother under the table, reminded me of the numerous tea parties my daughter threw many years ago. I recall running interference for her as my son’s trains and web of tracks seemed to always wind their way towards her precariously arranged party table.

Julia, the picture book’s narrator, is determined to show her little brother Charles the ins and outs of hosting a tea. Naturally, you start by creating unique invitations, hand-delivering them to the guests. Charles, contentedly playing with toys alongside his dog and pet frog, has a look of apprehension on his face, as do the pets. Julia’s instructions continue,

Next, you put on fancy clothes.
Wear a fancy hat.
Underwear does not count as a hat.

and though Charles and company try their best to cooperate, the results of their efforts (or lack thereof) are hysterical as witnessed in the illustration of the frog with undies covering one eye looking very much like ’40s film star, Veronica Lake. And let it be known, big sis does NOT want the McKagan brothers invited to tea, “Or the frog.” But it’s obvious from Rosenberg’s succinct and spot-on prose along with Heather Ross’s humorous illustrations that Julia is not getting her way, warranting her to “take deep breaths and count to seven.”

The juxtapositioning of Julia’s attempts to remain calm and in control of her tea party while watching its decorum slowly go downhill after a series of colorful mishaps is a big part of this book’s appeal. Another is watching the chaos ensue and seeing all the kids’ (and animals’) reactions as depicted so perfectly by Ross. This “Manners! What manners?” tea party provides a great jumping off point for discussion about appropriate and inappropriate behavior while at the same time demonstrates that it’s okay if things go off course. In fact, many times it’s actually a lot more fun!

  • Reviewed by Ronna Mandel


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Milo’s Special Words

dsc08201These books were reviewed by Heather, a physical therapist and former L.A. mom recently relocated to Manhattan. Kieran is almost 2 1/2 years old and soon to be a big sister. One of her favorite activities is storytime with mommy and daddy and she especially likes to question “Why?” with each turn of the page.

Getting this book to review could not have been more timely. My daughter, Kieran has recently taken to placing orders with us rather than saying the preferred “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome.” Milo’s Special Words (Robin Corey Books from Random House) by Charise Mericle Harper features Milo, a little toddler cat thirsty for milk. However, his mommy (who 2happens to be a bunny) won’t get it unless he uses those magic words. With the assistance of his little sister, Lucy (a puppy), he is able to ask nicely and enjoy his milk. Kieran loves to sit down and read this book with us, which is great to further reinforce her learning of these good manners. This is an interactive book that includes flaps and wheels. I like that although it has these features, they are not on every page. This allows her to enjoy the story with me, rather than focusing on flipping the flap or turning the wheels right away. Her favorite page is helping the mommy “do the laundry” by spinning the large wheel. She looks up at me every time and asks “Why I am helping the mommy do the laundry?” Yet another good act I hope she continues.

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