- Craig Graziano
When a little bear cub stumbles upon a plate of cookies and a teddy bear sitting in the middle of the woods, he thinks the stuffed animal is the owner of the sweet treats. "I'll eat the cookies for you," he promises. Little does he know that someone else is calling the shots. In order to get at those cookies, Cub will have to follow some Tea Party Rules.
A girl shows up and quickly notices a difference about her bear companion. "You're grubby. Tea Party Rule: you must be clean." Hopefully Cub likes baths as much as he likes cookies, but I doubt it.
According to his date, Cub also must dress fancy and eat daintily. Decked out in a dress and bonnet, our wild animal will face an etiquette test worthy of Emily Post. Will he be able to manage all this proper behavior?
Author Ame Dyckman perfectly captures the voice of the tea-partying girl, who is a stickler for the rules on the right way to behave during such a special occasion. K.G. Campbell's illustrations help us see Cub's range of emotions as he goes from frustration at being sprayed with perfume to sheer joy at seeing those cookies again. The collaboration between these two is full of sly humor and fun.
Another great book about animals and behavior is Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, by Peter Brown. Mr. Tiger escapes his humdrum life where animals dress properly and walk upright. The colorful tale offers splendid themes of self-identity and acceptance.
Looking for more titles by Ame Dyckman? In Wolfie the Bunny, a reluctant rabbit big sister is a tad skeptical of her newly adopted baby brother, a wolf cub. This story shows the author's ability to create an authentic child voice as sister Dot stubbornly insists, "He's going to eat us all up!"
Tea Party Rules is delightfully funny and has an ending as sweet as those elusive cookies. Try reading it to your little cub today!