With such a mischievous little brother, what’s a young
hostess to do?
As Julia plans and sets up her backyard tea party, younger brother Charles runs rings around and through it with the cute family dog, Rexie. And not far away are the McKagan brothers, redheaded twins with googly eyes, who match Charles prank for prank. They eat the peonies on the table (while Rexie is eating the tablecloth), and one of them stacks the teacups on his head. The metajoke of this book is that the text reads like a set of instructions written by Miss Manners that hint at the chaos shown in the pictures. “You may bring a stuffed animal. And a present. / Do not eat the peonies. Or the tablecloth!” Julia loses her temper and sends the boys away with big angry words that fill the page. But a tea party for one is not much of a party. She reinvites the boys and even allows Rexie to return. Before long, she’s playing as rambunctiously as they are, building a rocket ship out of sugar cubes and climbing the big backyard tree. Rosenberg’s prose is apt and economical, playing right into the humor of the book’s digital illustrations, created with Photoshop. Ross’ repertoire of facial expressions is a highlight.
Fizzy and sweet if not exactly groundbreaking. (Picture book. 3-6)