Exquisite pencil drawings, sparing use of color, and a simple, magical story combine together to make The Tea Party in the Woods a winner! Sweet Kikko notices that her father has forgotten the pie he intended to bring to her Grandmother's house. So, she sets off through the woods after him, following his footprints in the snow. Eventually, she happens upon a lone house, a house she has never seen before. Peering in the window Kikko discovers a remarkable world where animals talk and throw tea parties. Highly imaginative, and inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, this story is both familiar, and unique. The story is lovely, but the illustrations send this one over the top. Beautiful book!
This is such a beautiful book! The illustrations and story are truly magical, with hints of Little Red Riding Hood, but also Hayao Miyazaki and magic realism - all in a picture book. It's one of my all-time favourites!
In this magical take on "Little Red Riding Hood," snow has fallen around little Kikko's house. Kikko wants to help her father clear her grandmother’s walk so, when she learns he has already left, she trails behind carrying a pie. Following what she interprets as her father's footprints, she suddenly falls and crushes the pie. After picking it and herself back up, Kikko sees the figure heading into a huge building she has never seen before and realizes that she has actually been following a bear in a coat! A little lamb emerges and invites Kikko inside, where she is the only human among a variety of forest creatures. The animals quickly welcome the little girl and replace the crushed pie with an unusual one of their own, ultimately delighting her grandmother.
Akiko Miyakoshi has turned a classic tale upside down in the most pleasant and unusual way. Readers may expect to see the story take a dark turn after Kikko meets the wild animals but, instead, they discover a tale that becomes ever friendlier and more welcoming. Despite a dull font choice and largely dark illustrations, the drawings do contain touches of colour that brighten the pages. Kikko's yellow hair and red hat burst out against the charcoal background and the animals have a realistic quality, enhancing the book's whimsy.
Gentle and enchanting, "The Tea Party in the Woods" embodies the warmth of new-found friends.
What drew me to this book initially, was the minimal use of colour on the cover, and secondly, the book’s title. Perhaps I can blame Lewis Carroll for this, but I always associate tea parties with fun and wonder. Then I noticed the author’s name, and since I am a big fan of Japanese storytelling, I just knew that I had to get my hands on this title.
As my star rating indicates, this book did not disappoint!
From the very first page, this book catches your attention (whether through the words which set up the story, or through the contrasted use of gray, red, and yellow). The situation is set up in the form of Kikko’s father having forgotten the pie which he had supposed to been bringing to his mother, and Kikko offers to take it and catch up to him.
The set-up of this story, of a child going off on a long journey on their own, is a trope which reminds me very much of Little Red Riding Hood as well as Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. And this trope usually indicates to me, that the child who goes off on this journey alone, will experience unforgettable and magical things.
And I was not wrong. This book is filled with animals who can talk and walks on two legs, landscapes covered in snow, steaming tea, and delicious-sounding pie.
The text in this book is always clear to read, and the amount of text-per-page is reasonable. It is just enough text to give the required information, without being an amount which would cause children to lose attention.
The illustrations are simple, but although Miyakoshi used only three colours to create these drawings, their effect is still very magical. They grab the reader’s attention in that they are simple, while also containing a good amount of detail.
Overall this was a very enjoyable book for myself as an adult, and I can assume that children would also greatly enjoy the pictures, as well as the story contained within it.
The only issue which I found with this book, was the fact that Kikko did not say “thank you” after receiving help from others. I find that a troubling amount of younger generations are lacking in manners, and while they may not listen to their parents in regard to how it is proper to act, perhaps books would have a more significant influence.
Despite this little issue which I find that I have with the book’s contents, everything else was great! I would definitely buy and recommend this book.
There is something about walking through the woods that goes along with stories. Like tea and crumpets, cookies and milk or peanut butter and jam. Anyway, this gentle story has a few unexpected twists and turns that keep the pages turning. The book can be enjoyed for its delightful surprises and re-read for its kid appeal. Who wouldn’t want to attend a tea party in the woods? Kikko, a likeable main character, wants to deliver a pie to her grandmother’s house. It’s a simple idea, but when her father leaves in advance, all she has to go on are some footprints in the snow and a figure in the distance. The story has a dreamlike quality with an appreciation of bravery and independence. The black and white illustrations with splashes of colour are delightful and different. Reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood, it is full of fun, friendship, encouragement and whimsy. A sure hit with little people and their significant adults! I’m happy to add this one to my library.