The Tea Party in the Woods

TheTeaPartyintheWoods

Image Credit: Kids Can Press, Akiko Miyakoshi

 

Japanese author/illustrator Akiko Miyakoshi creates a whimsical and mysterious winter fantasy inspired by Little Red Riding Hood. The Tea Party in the Woods was originally printed in Japan in 2010 (もりのおくのおちゃかいへ) but was translated to English and printed in Canada/US this year. I’m always happy and thankful for this special type of global exchange. There are SO many great stories out there!

In The Tea Party in the Woods, Kikko sets out after her father on a wintry morning. He forgot the pie for grandma and so she bravely walks through the woods in the deep snow to catch up with him. She finally sees him and rushes to catch up but drops and crushes the pie box. After she gets up, she follows him again but he walks into a strange house! Turns out it’s not her father at all…but a bear wearing a suit! She’s invited into the animals’ tea party where everyone is having a lovely time with music and delicious food. The animals share slices of all their lovely pies to make a special new pie for grandma.

This book is lovely and odd. Miyakoshi’s sketchy charcoal and pencil illustrations stand out against the white background. Her sparse use of color is just enough to highlight and draw attention, similar to Sydney Smith’s use of color in Sidewalk FlowersThe page where Kikko enters the party is a bit spooky; all the animals stare at her with wide eyes. Perhaps they’re just as surprised to see her as she is them! Snuggle up with a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy The Tea Party in the Woods with your children.

Recommended for: All Ages
Great for: Family, Little Red Riding Hood, Community, Determination, Friendship, Party, Animals, Pie, Party, Mystery, Winter, Woods, Global Exchange
Book Info: The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi, 2015 Kids Can Press, ISBN: 9781771381079

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The Only Child

TheOnlyChild

Image Credit: Schwartz & Wade Books (Random House Children’s Books), Guojing

 

Sweet and reflective. I must say that 2015 is producing some AMAZING wordless picture books and this one is no exception.

In the Author’s Note, Guojing tells us that this book is a reflection of her feelings of loneliness while growing up in China in the 80s under the one-child policy. A generation of lonely children, she says, was created by this policy and The Only Child definitely has a note of melancholy to it.

In this wordless story, a very young girl is left alone while her parents go to work. She finds a photo album, is reminded of her grandmother and sets out to visit her. Unfortunately, she falls asleep on the bus and wanders the woods alone, lost, afraid and crying. From behind a tree in the snowy woods comes a majestic stag who comforts her then whisks her away to the skies. In the sky world, she discovers more wonderful creatures that assuage her loneliness.

TheOnlyChild2

Image Credit: Schwartz & Wade (Random House Children’s Books), Guojing

Guojing is a great storyteller. This is a rather long and complicated wordless book/graphic novel; each panel is well executed and the story flows effortlessly. Her pencil drawings are lovely. The young girl’s emotions are so well drawn and the stag has beauty, quiet power and strength. There is a magical feeling to her drawings and the gray of the pencil adds to the cold wintry mood of the book. This is a great one for a cold, winter evening with a cup of cocoa or tea. Enjoy!

 

Recommended for: All ages
Great for: Emotions, Friendship, Family, Whimsy, Winter, Storyboarding, Storytelling, Diversity, Cultural Diversity, China, One Child Policy
Book Info: The Only Child by Guojing, 2015 Schwartz & Wade (Random House Children’s Books), ISBN: 9780553497045