Eight cats crash a Christmas tea party in this rhyming holiday story that tries hard to be funny and charming but misses the mark by more than a whisker.
Elizabeth Ann and her sister Mollie live in a Victorian house with their mother and their collection of cats of different colors and personalities. The girls are planning their annual dress-up tea party, but the cats are not invited; they are banished to an upstairs bedroom with treats to keep them busy. The clever cats escape, charge downstairs and into the party scene, causing a ruckus. They leap onto the tea table, spilling milk, flinging food and helping themselves to sandwiches and drinks. The subdued girls pet the now-exhausted cats, and the story concludes with the guests declaring they rather liked the feline frenzy. The rhyming text plods along in sing-song fashion with several clunky near-rhymes that fall flat and lines that don’t scan well. Some of the illustrations of the cats are comical, but the girls look like paper dolls—and sad paper dolls at that.
The premise of cats running amok at a tea party has the potential for humor, but neither the writer nor the illustrator can pull this off. (Picture book. 3-6)