7 tip-top tea parties in children’s fiction
Published on: 17 March 2022 Author: Andy Sagar
Andy Sagar’s new book Yesterday Crumb and the Storm in a Teacup follows a pair of tea witches who live in a magical, walking teashop. So who better to list some of the best tea parties in literature?
1. The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi
With a pinch of Alice in Wonderland and a dash of Little Red Riding Hood, this tea party is the fairy-tale mashup that dreams are made of. When Kikko’s father heads out to visit her grandmother, she rushes after him with the pie he left behind, only to stumble upon a curious tea party – as the title might suspect – in the woods. The illustrations are evocative, the story is charming, and the characters are delightful. One of my favourite picture books, ever!
2. The Tea Dragon Society by Kay O’Neill
Another illustrated marvel, this graphic novel tells the story of a teashop where all the tea is grown from the heads of little tea dragons. The leaves they sprout contain not just delicious flavours, but a secret, wonderful kind of magic too, which the story reveals in good time. The book is also delightfully inclusive, quietly confirming the important truth that everyone should be welcome at teatime.
3. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis
Nobody needs me to introduce The Chronicles of Narnia. Just as Lucy steps through the wardrobe to discover the snowy forest beyond, she meets the faun Mr Tumnus, who takes her to tea in his home. However, it soon becomes apparent that his reasons for bringing her to tea may not be quite so wholesome as we first expect. This particular tea party is more on the sinister side than the others on this list – a rare quality amongst tea parties, to be sure.
4. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Strange the Dreamer features two characters – Lazlo and Sarai – who meet each night in their dreams. One of these dream meetings sees the two taking tea together, on the bank of a dreamed-up river. Outside the dream, everything stands on the brink of collapse. But inside the dream, all is peace and teapots. And indeed, if that isn’t a testament to the power of a good tea party (even a tea party for two), I don’t know what is.
5. Mary Poppins Comes Back by P L Travers
Illustrated by Lauren Child
In the second Mary Poppins book, Mary brings Jane and Michael to a tea party. Only, as we might expect from the mercurial Mary Poppins, this is no ordinary tea party, but rather, one that occurs upside-down on the ceiling. Teaching us the important lesson that there is no one right way to take one’s tea, the upside-down tea party goes down as one of the most whimsical tea parties that English literature has to offer.
6. The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
One of Kerr’s most famous stories, The Tiger Who Came to Tea is an unparalleled classic. While Sophie and her mum are enjoying their tea, a tiger quite improbably shows up on their doorstep and proceeds to gobble up everything in sight, leaving the house’s supplies thoroughly depleted. Truly, all the tiger wants is to eat cake and drink tea. How relatable.
7. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Illustrated by Robert Ingpen
And, to finish up, no list of literary tea parties would be complete without perhaps the most famous literary tea party of all time. During her adventures underground, Alice stumbles upon a tea party attended by a hatter, a hare, and a dormouse. Brimming with iconic riddles and tales of nonsense, this is the tea party of which all others live in the shadow.
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