Spinelli, Eileen illus. by Karen Dugan. Tea Party Today: Poems to Sip and Savor. Wordsong, 2006. ISBN 978-1590784280 32 pp. $
This is a charming poetry picture book. Poems are cleverly arranged in stages of having a tea party: shopping, creating invitations, preparing, brewing, and entertaining. Teatime Tips (“Teatime and Poetry make a splendid pair!”) accompany each poem, ranging from recipes to activities to placating party poopers.
Dugan’s whimsical illustrations are faintly reminiscent of Tomie DePaola’s soft rounded style, but have more color and action. The pictures, people with a multicultural cast of cheerful children, portray movement in every sense.
Spinelli’s text has trouble keeping up with Dugan’s smooth style. Some of the poems have odd rhythms due to forced rhymes, but in most cases, the desired effect is achieved, whether it be one of bustling preparation (“Pots clank/Glasses clink/Water gurgles/in the sink”) or calm lazy afternoons (“Brown sugar sand is soft and sweet/This day is good enough to eat”).
With curriculum connections potential in a variety of subjects, this book is a worthy purchase for any library serving younger elementary grade students–in spite of Spinelli’s need for a bit more polishing in the poetry department.