cover image Tea with Grandpa

Tea with Grandpa

Barney Saltzberg. Roaring Brook/Porter, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-59643-894-1

This deceptively simple story takes something classic—an afternoon tea party between a girl and her grandfather—and tweaks it for a generation raised on touch screens. Saltzberg’s (A Little Bit of Oomph!) bouncy couplets and understated cartoons chronicle the daily ritual: “Every day at half past three.../ Me and Grandpa./ Time for tea./ I can pour so carefully./ Grandpa holds his cup for me.” Eagle-eyed kids may notice that the frizzy-haired girl and her vest-wearing grandfather are never pictured together, and even their backgrounds differ (hers is a lime green wash, while his is a pale blue). The final spread reveals why: Grandpa’s enjoying his tea on the flat-screen monitor of the girl’s computer. Mischievous pet antics add a dash of fun, but the focus is on the sweet bond between these two family members separated by distance. And with the merits and perils of e-books, apps, and screen time—especially with regard to children—the subject of near-constant debate, this book comes as a welcome reminder that technology isn’t all bad. Ages 3–7. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Apr.)