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The Tea Party in the Woods Hardcover – August 1, 2015
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From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—This work feels new and old, combining motifs from traditional and canonical literature. Elements from "Red Riding Hood" and Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland have the strongest presence with possible nods to "Goldilocks" and the less-known tale of the "Twelve Months." Kikko chases through the woods after her father with a pie for Grandma. Finding herself outside a different house, she joins a tea party. When her animal hosts hear that her pie had been crushed, they assemble an assorted dessert and parade with her to Grandma's house before disappearing. The translated text seems a bit flat and stilted in comparison to the fresh story concept and the pacing tends to lag at times, occasionally pausing on uninspired dialogue. Overall, the illustrations work well in some aspects and fall short in others. With a blend of realism and surrealism, Miyakoshi's style is reminiscent of Anthony Browne. The texture of the charcoal on paper gives the dark trees of the forest a wavery roughness as the author-illustrator artfully creates a barren landscape with the adept use of value, white space, and perspective. Although the stark bleakness makes sense for the outdoor scenes and Miyakoshi's tender grayness fits the real-life frame, the tea party scenes have a static, dusty quality for example, when the animals stare upon the newcomer through what might be described as a dry haze. With the restraint of the monochromatic palette and spot color, the wildly shifting perspective feels unnecessarily dramatic. The greatest disappointment may be that Kikko's minimal facial features occasionally read as inappropriately cross, comical, or smug, suggesting that perhaps more than just words are lost in the translation. VERDICT This is a delightfully unique story with striking illustrations but lacks the magic of a more lyrical translation and comprehensively distinguished visuals.—Erin Reilly-Sanders, Ohio State University, Columbus
... a beautiful Alice in Wonderland/Little Red Riding Hood mashup.―Quill & Quire
This is a delightfully unique story with striking illustrations ...―School Library Journal
The hardest part of letting children do things on their own ... is giving them an opportunity to fail ... which is why this amazing book resonated with all three of us.―Globe and Mail
The graceful proportions, atmospheric detail, and quiet, bewitching light of Miyakoshi's charcoals distinguish this small gem.―Publishers Weekly, starred review
Miyakoshi's fairy-tale-like language, fanciful scenes, and cheery ending make this offbeat take on Little Red Riding Hood perfect for sharing.―Booklist
As beguilingly surreal as the Mad Hatter's party, with its own enigmatic appeal.―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
A superb, atmospheric mix of fairy tale and dream, wild woods and home comfort.―Toronto Star
... young readers will enjoy exploring The Tea Party in the Woods on their own while adults similarly will enjoy sharing it with the young people in their lives.―CM Magazine
... the varied delights offered by this strange, captivating picture book.―The Boston Globe
... simple, textured drawings are detailed enough to convey the characters' emotions.―School Library Connection
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The illustrations are mostly black and white, with some having just a touch of color. The story is simple, but appropriate for a little one. Something a bit different, and worth looking into.