Tea For Ruby by Sarah Ferguson (The Duchess of York). Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. Book Review

 Click here to buy Tea for Ruby

If anyone has had experience drinking tea with the Queen, Sarah Ferguson would be one of them. So we are cleverly seduced into thinking Ruby is actually having Queen with her Royal Majesty Elizabeth II. This is reinforced when everyone she meets gives her advice on how to behave.

“I hope you won’t shout when you have tea with the Queen.”

“I hope you won’t interrupt when you have tea with the Queen.”

In spite of this relentless barrage of advice, Ruby excitedly shares her invitation with everyone she sees, the letter carrier, the soccer coach, the dance instructor, and more.

The tension builds and builds until finally the day arrives. Ruby wears her prettiest dress, a tiara, and carries a bouquet of flowers. Her parents drive her to a beautiful floral-lined path.

“Grandma?” says Ruby.

“My princess!” responds a woman in a semi formal dress draped with costume jewelry and a tiny fake crown.

On the yellow and green shuttered house is a banner reading Welcome to Tea at the Palace!

You might think that the reader would be disappointed to find out that Ruby will be having tea with a member of the family instead of royalty but this isn’t so. Children are delighted that Ruby’s grandmother has gone to so much trouble and they are sharing this special, memorable moment together.

On the last page is a note reading, “Dear Grandma, Thank you so much for inviting me to tea. I tried to use my very best manners. The tarts were with delicious but my favorite thing was just being with you! I love you, Ruby.” This exchange is better than 100 visits with the actual Queen. (No offense to Her Royal Highness.)

The illustrations are extensively detailed. Ruby tries on several gowns in preparation for her visit but her imagined outfits and surroundings are pure delightful fantasy. Little girls will love studying the formal costumes. Glasser has created a fascinating set of illustrations.

I was deeply pleased with this book and would recommend it to any parent or grandparent who loves to play Princess or tea with a child.

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Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

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