Author/Illustrator: Molly Idle
Age Group: 2-6
Synopsis: A handy guidebook for any sort of tea party but especially for one involving dinosaurs.
The Low Down:
I never drank very much tea before Bug. Then while I was pregnant herbal teas were my jam but as soon as I could I jumped back to coffee. Then we moved to England. It seemed whenever someone came to visit (we once had 17 visitors over the course of 4 months) we somehow morphed into this tea-drinking force. I enjoy a good cup of tea but honestly, I’d probably choose coffee nine times out of ten given the choice. However, since we’ve moved from England our tea drinking consumption has slowed to almost nothing. I’m not sure if it’s equal parts nostalgia and interest that’s prompted Bug to develop a sudden tea party interest but we’ve been knocking them out with surprising regularity. I’m sure, that’s why Molly Idle’s, Tea Rex was such a hit at our house.
I’m not shy about our love of Molly Idle. Her absolutely stunning illustrations really hit it on the nose for me. Her Rex series though is coupled with this dry humor in the text, that can’t fail to make me chuckle. Written to be read in the poshest accent possible, this book is anything but. The antics will make little ones laugh with the clever delivery will cater to parents. While directly hitting on the bones of any good tea party, the story also offers a plot line that allows this to go from mere how-to book to an actual story. Full of hope, disappointment, goal realization, and overcoming obstacles, the story tackles these all in an amusing in unconventional way.
As previously mentioned Idle’s illustrations are each stand-alone gems. Her style always seems vibrantly soft. With expressive characters and truly active pictures, the book almost seems to take on a life of its own without overwhelming the reader. Smooth lines, delicate details, and an attractive dedication that is evident in every inch of the work really makes this story. The elegantly dressed family and home end the tea party in a state of disarray that mirrors a disaster zone (although one might expect that when entertaining a T-Rex). Our favorite character was Teddy who got the worst of it all, to the point that his eye is on the verge of falling off towards the end.
Bug has a distinct idea of how a tea party should be done now. Insisting on ties and hats and meeting everyone at the door to greet them and ask them to join us, he’s on the edge of becoming a tea-party dictator. I’m having fun watching him have an outlet for his ideas though and full cater to his creativity. He helps choose our tasty treats and flowers for the table and displays the sweetest of manners. There is an added element of Molly Idle that enters our parties though, be it spoons on the nose or nearly consuming an entire tray of cream puffs in a single bite. It’s an added degree of silliness, which is right up our alley anyway.
- Have a tea party afterwords. Even a pretend one with animals.
- Watch Teddy.
I need more!
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