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TEAFLET & ROOG MAKE A MESS by Jeanne Birdsall Kirkus Star


by Jeanne Birdsall ; illustrated by Jane Dyer

Pub Date: May 11th, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-593-17911-6
Publisher: Knopf

In the land of Trelfdom, a trelf brother-and-sister duo must prepare for a cleanliness inspection from a strict inspector on the eve of a grand party.

It’s the 10th annual Strawberry Jam Party, and Roog’s in a tizzy. As the cooking and baking expert, he’s working hard to prepare all the tasty food—including cakes, pies, waffles, croissants, and more—for the celebration. His animal-loving sister, Teaflet, spends her time helping out animals in need, occasionally disrupting Roog’s laborious kitchen work. So when a letter arrives announcing a cleanliness inspection from the very strict (and “marvelous”—also “humble”) Inspector Maple, Roog twirls into distress. If Teaflet and Roog fail the inquiry, they’ll have to clean Inspector Maple’s house. “It’s a disaster! If we’re cleaning her house, we can’t be having a Strawberry Jam Party,” exclaims Roog. To calm her brother’s nerves, Teaflet volunteers to clean their house (“top to bottom”) while Roog readies for the celebration. Can the trelf siblings clean a house full of animals, pass the inspection, and host a grand Strawberry Jam Party in less than a day? Retro in its tone and aesthetics, Birdsall and Dyer’s humorous, enchanting collaboration is a slice of whimsy with a scoop of jam-errific fun on top. Featuring wire and wool figurines, clay objects, and watercolor artwork, Dyer’s contribution satisfies in pulling readers into Teaflet and Roog’s world, a mishmash of critters, confetti, and cakes. Birdsall, meanwhile, opts for a conversational narrative voice that’s like a mischievous and good-natured call for everyday adventure. Trelf characters have beige complexions.

Quaint in scope, tremendous in flair.

(Fiction. 5-10)