theteapartyinthewoodsThe Tea Party in the Woods, Akiko Miyakoshi, Kids Can Press, 2015.

Author and illustrator Akiko Miyakoshi tells a brilliant story about a little girl named Kikko. Snow has fallen in the woods, and Kikko’s father leaves to go help her grandmother. After discovering that Father forgot the pie for Grandmother, Kikko sets out into the snow-covered woods to catch up with her father.

As she follows a set of footprints, she sees her father’s frame in the distance, and hurries to catch up to him, dropping the pie. It turns out that she was not following her father, but a well-dressed bear. At the invitation of a sheep, Kikko joins the tea party that is taking place inside the large home.

While the animals are just as surprised as Kikko is, they welcome her to the table. They set a place for her, and treat her as the honored guest. When they learn about her journey through the woods to grandmother’s house, they all decide to journey with her. And when they learn that she had dropped and crushed the pie and the box, they piece together a pie using slices from all the different pies on the table.

The-Tea-Party-In-The-Woods-Akiko-Miyakoshi-1024x614

They form community.

As Kikko arrives at Grandmother’s house, the animals disappear.

“My dear, did you come all this way on your own?” asked Grandma, stepping inside.
Kikko looked around, but the animals were nowhere to be seen.
“You’re never alone in the woods,” Kikko answered, smiling.

You are never alone in the woods. 

The black and white charcoal drawings with the occasional splash of color aids the storytelling. This technique adds a layer of mystery, that reinforces the reader’s curiosity about the tale. This is a great book for older preschool and elementary students.  I think middle schoolers would appreciate it as well.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital review copy.