cover image Tea with Oliver

Tea with Oliver

Mika Song. Harper, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-242948-3

Oliver is a lonely, mild-mannered cat who would love to have tea with someone other than his stuffed toy. Philbert is a mouse who lives under Oliver’s sofa and would like nothing better than to be invited to tea by Oliver (just the thought of tea inspires Philbert to do a happy dance and hope for cookies, too). But Oliver doesn’t know Philbert exists, and Philbert is too shy to speak up; the mouse’s earnest attempt at communication—a tiny letter that reads, “Let’s have tea. Philbert (under the couch)”—never reaches its intended recipient. It takes a boisterous party foisted on Oliver by his Cousin Lester to bring Philbert into Oliver’s field of vision and forge a friendship of like minds. In an appealing debut as author, illustrator Song (Harry and Clare’s Amazing Staycation) combines dialogue bubbles with succinct, direct narration to draw readers in and sidestep any expected interspecies animosity. Her pencil drawings, rendered in soft blues and peaches, may be naive in style, but they demonstrate a sophisticated sense of character, pacing, and composition. Ages 4–8. Agent: Erica Rand Silverman, Stimola Literary Studio. (Aug.)