It’s teatime, and everything must be perfect. But wait—what was that sound?
A tousled-haired, jewelry-bedecked hostess welcomes two friends and an array of pet and toy guests for tea. But something—or someone—keeps tooting, and everyone knows “there is no tooting at tea.” Heim’s humorous tale of a tea party gone wrong vies for a seat at a table full of stories old and new. The text is clever enough, featuring a cheekily informative if Eurocentric afterword. The endlessly entertaining theme of flatulence, a satisfying portrayal of an imperious friend getting her just deserts (and desserts?), and the delightfully indelicate alliteration of the titular tooting should invite a wide audience. Regrettably, both design and illustrations make this party a little more exclusive. Fussy lettering, replete with curlicues and adorned with butterflies, flowers, and ribbons, clearly addresses this book to the pretty-pretty-princess set. Not’s art, with loose line drawings and Photoshop coloring, lacks depth, weight, and sophistication, appearing shabby among such company as Jane O’Connor’s Fancy Nancy tales, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. All three girls appear to be white, and a blandly beautiful mother oversees the fete from afar. For tea with a little more body, see Ame Dyckman’s Tea Party Rules, illustrated by K.G. Campbell (2013), or Molly Idle’s Tea Rex (2013).
Too bad this tea is lukewarm. (Picture book. 4-8)