If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are excited, it will calm you.
-William Ewart Gladstone
I suppose I’ve always enjoyed tea: hot spiced tea in winter, Russian tea at Christmas, English breakfast tea in the morning, herbal orange tea at night, iced tea in summertime . . . . In sixth grade, our teacher would sometimes allow a few of my friends and me to skip recess and have a tea party in the classroom. Ah, the excitement of that empty classroom, so freshly quiet except for our chatter and the clink of our tea cups!
This month, I helped to host a tea party for the women in my family (and one helpful British boyfriend). 🙂 We donned our hats and piled goodies on three-tiered trays. My mother arranged the flowers, and I put Emile Pandolfi on the radio. For an hour or so, there was only loveliness.
Today, I want to share with you one of the dearest children’s books in my collection: Tea Party Today: Poems to Sip and Savor by Eileen Spinelli, with illustrations by Karen Dugan. It is twenty-years-old this year, and (this part I still cannot understand) it is out of print. I think you will still be able to find it at your library, or you can purchase a gently-used copy.
The twenty short poems and joyful illustrations in Tea Party Today transport readers to places worthy of visiting again and again – a serene lake, a sun-drenched beach, a quaint village, a cozy window seat . . . . Even my boys (when they were toddlers) adored reading this together. We discovered the idea of a Noah’s tea in this book, so we invited some friends to bring their stuffed animals to our backyard. It was springtime, and the roses were just starting to bloom. We laid out a large blanket and had a happy tea picnic!
Eileen Spinelli is a master at crafting stories and poems for children. (Wouldn’t it be a dream to have tea with her someday?!!) From learning about tea around the world, to enjoying the sounds of a busy kitchen, to visiting Grandma’s house on a cold winter’s night, these poems and pictures will delight the special children in your life and the child in you!
Now, I’m off to make a cuppa. 🙂