A very proper queen goes on a world tour, visiting children who know both how to make tea and how to entice a royal to come out of her protective shell.
Resembling Victoria in stature and Carroll’s Red Queen in temperament, the white monarch finds herself unhappy with the tea brewed by her butler, James (also white). Traveling with her trusty manservant by hot air balloon in search of a better brew, she meets Noriko of Japan, Sunil of India, and Rana of Turkey. She not only drinks the tea found in those countries, but she even helps to brew the drink and has an adventure in friendship in each place. Although the queen communicates her disdain for such activities to James, and James dutifully informs each child, she eventually consents to snuggle Noriko’s kittens, dribble Sunil’s soccer ball, and dance with Rana. At the end, the queen invites the children to her garden and prepares the tea herself. The charm of this picture book is to be found in its repetitive language. Each voyage is told in almost the same wording, but in each sequence, the queen does a little more to make the tea, until she is quite self-sufficient and capable of enjoying human relationships. The amusing colored-pencil illustrations show the queen as she changes from her buttoned-up personality with proper hairdo created by her maids to a free spirit who does her own haphazard coiffure.
Droll entertainment that calls out for an international tea party. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-7)