The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
First Published: 2015
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Recommended Age: 5+
Genres & Themes: Picture Books, Animals, Kindness
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.
I’m not sure I want children to be reading this book. After her experience meeting animals in the woods willing to help her put a pie together, Kikko says that ‘‘you’re never alone in the woods’’ like it’s a good thing, but how can that be?
Kikko basically follows a man she believes is her father, but turns out he isn’t, to a strange and unknown house until she discovers the man is actually a bear. I say Kikko is a lucky girl because she could have been hurt or kidnapped or who-knows-what, but instead she was welcomed into the house by the animals for a tea party.
Obviously this is a children’s book so it’s meant to be taken as a piece of imagination to enchant the child’s mind, but as I said, I’m not sure it’s the right type of story for a child. Normally I read picture books and I’m charmed and/or entertained and everything is fine. But this story made me frown. Even if you argue with me that it’s an okay story for children, I’m still going to frown the next time I read it or think about it, because my gut is telling me something is wrong, and I’ve pinpointed that.
Oh well, I was bound to fall upon a picture book that I would dislike someday. Don’t get me wrong, the illustrations are lovely… but the story is not.
Also I find the animals very creepy.
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