Tea Party Rules

Ame Dyckman, illus. by K.G. Campbell. Viking, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-670-78501-8
A bear cub sneaks into a girl’s tea party and assumes the role of her teddy bear—all with the intent to gobble up cookies—only to discover that he’s under the thumb of a mini Martha Stewart. “You’re grubby,” the girl tells him. “Tea Party Rule: you must be clean.” The rules also stipulate that Cub must have his hair styled, wear a pink dress, and (the last straw) “eat daintily.” Dyckman’s (Boy and Bot) and Campbell’s (Flora and Ulysses) story is like a pretty petit four with an unexpectedly zingy filling—it’s evident from the sly look in the girl’s eyes that she’s not fooled one bit by Cub’s masquerade. What’s really going down is not just a case of bossiness, but a real battle of wills. Who will break first? Or could there be two winners? Campbell’s marker and colored pencil drawings strike an ideal balance between girliness and wiliness, with just enough nudges and winks to make readers sympathize with Cub and feel in on the joke. Ages 3–5. Author’s agent: Scott Treimel, Scott Treimel NY. Illustrator’s agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/19/2013
Release date: 10/03/2013
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