Who could that be?
It’s Phoebe Dupree, and she’s coming to tea!
Abby, the young narrator of this charming picture book by Linda Ashman and Alea Marley, is excited to host the amazing Phoebe Dupree, who just happens to be absolutely perfect in every way.
Phoebe is speedy.
Phoebe is smart.
She’s equally brilliant at science and art.
This puts more than a little pressure on Abby. After all, nothing less than a picture perfect tea for a positively perfect friend will do.
She knocks herself out baking delicious treats, spiffing up her dog Louie (even briefing him on proper behavior), and then laying a beautiful table with lovely flowers and polka dot china. Everything’s all set!
Abby and Louie happily greet Phoebe, who takes her seat next to a doll and two bears. But when Abby tries to bring in the treats, she struggles with the heavy tray. It starts to slip, then bobbles and wobbles – then Abby stumbles and trips. Oh no!
Cupcakes and éclairs go flying, a startled Phoebe “jostles a chair, which rattles the table,” which teeters, tips and flips. Disaster!
And if that mess isn’t enough, a wet-from-the-pool Louie runs in and shakes water and drool all over everything.
The room is in shambles, chaotic and sad. Things are not perfect -- they're perfectly BAD.
Abby is sure the party is over, but Phoebe sees things differently. Can’t they still have fun? The girls end up having the best time on the floor, devouring smushed cupcakes and laughing over bent flowers as they forge their budding friendship.
This story will resonate with anyone who’s ever had hostess anxiety, or indeed, anyone who’s ever stressed over wanting to impress someone they ardently admire or idolize.
What a great message for kids about the pitfalls of perfectionism and the importance of remaining flexible and rolling with the punches.
Ashman’s lively rhyming text is a joy to read aloud. Story beats are perfectly paced, as the engaging narrative unfolds with humor, surprise and escalating suspense right through to the satisfying, feel-good ending.
Marley’s appealing illustrations, rendered in a confectionary palette of pinks and pistachios, effectively capture emotions from awe to alarm in scenes both calm and calamitous.
Love the contrast between prim and proper Abby with her dress, pearls, and neat bun, and free-spirited Phoebe, with her expansive Afro and cargo pants. Also love Louie’s blue bow tie. 🙂
Readers will be able to see themselves – or at least, parts of themselves – in each of the characters. How reassuring to know mishaps don’t necessarily have to end badly, and that we have the power to make the most of every situation. Another cupcake, please!
PHOEBE DUPREE IS COMING TO TEA!
written by Linda Ashman
illustrated by Alea Marley
published by Candlewick Press, June 2021
Picture Book for ages 3-7, 32 pp.
**Starred Review** from School Library Journal
♥️ Enjoy this sweet read aloud by young Jaewon Nicky Hyun:
🎉 GIVEAWAY WINNER! 🎈
Thanks to all who noshed on hot chocolate and churros with us last week. We’re happy to announce that the winner of a brand new copy of The Chocolate King by Michael Leventhal and Laura Catalán is:
😍 Linda Baie!! 😋
🍫 🍪 CONGRATULATIONS, LINDA!!! 🍩 🍫
Sounds like you need to eat some extra chocolate to celebrate!!
Mr Cornelius will be sending your copy lickety split! 🙂
La La Lovely Linda Baie just happens to be hosting the Roundup over at TeacherDance. Waltz on over to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up around the blogosphere this week. Enjoy your weekend and Happy Valentine’s Day on Monday!! ♥️
*Interior spreads text copyright © 2021 Linda Ashman, illustrations © 2021 Alea Marley, published by Candlewick Press. All rights reserved.
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