Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Review - The Tea Party in the Woods

The Tea Party in the Woods
by Akiko Miyakoshi
Date: 2010
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

Kikko sets out after her father with a forgotten pie for Grandma. When she arrives at a strange house in the wintry woods, a peek in the window reveals that the footprints Kikko had been following did not belong to her father at all, but to a bear in a long coat and hat! Alice in Wonderland meets Little Red Riding Hood in this charmed tale.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This wasn't really what I was expecting... but more on that in a moment. This is a cute little story about a girl who's on her way to her grandmother's house when she stumbles upon a very strange tea party in the woods. The animals are all very kind and welcoming, and help her solve her dilemma. The illustrations are an intriguing mix of cartoonish and realistic, with a bit of creepiness thrown in (there was one illustration in particular, where all the animals were looking at Kikko, that was a little unnerving). Overall, I quite liked the story and the tone.

There was one thing I found a bit confusing, though. (This doesn't affect my rating at all, but I just wanted to point it out.) When I picked this one up, I noted the Japanese author, and then saw that it had been translated from the Japanese. So I expected a story with Japanese flavour and characters. Instead, I got a very European-flavoured fairytale with a little blonde heroine. I was dismayed when, earlier this year, I saw that some people had down-rated the absolutely adorable Natsumi! simply because neither the author nor illustrator were Japanese. The Tea Party in the Woods highlights the problem of doing this; if the Japanese books made available to English-speaking readers don't feature Japanese culture, it seems unfair to penalize non-Japanese authors for filling that gap.

In any case, judging this book simply by the story and pictures, it's a lovely little picture book with a whimsical feel that offers a sweet look at the kindness of strangers.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 4 out of 5

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