Tempest at the Tea Party: Tea for Ruby by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York
YOU ARE INVITED TO HAVE TEA WITH THE QUEEN ON SUNDAY.
PLEASE BRING YOUR VERY BEST MANNERS.
Even little girls who dream of lifting a pinkie with royalty need some education in etiquette, and Ruby is no exception.
When she finds an elaborate invitation to tea on Sunday next in her mailbox, Ruby is ecstatic! Immediately she yells out her good news to the mailman who just delivered the envelope.
"Ruby, I hope you won't shout when you have tea with the Queen," he laughs.
Ruby races into her house where her brother is reclining on the sofa with his iPod, jumps on the sofa as she tells him her news, and spills his popcorn all over the floor.
"Ruby, I hope you won't interrupt when you have tea with the Queen!" he grumbles.
Undaunted by his complaints, Ruby runs for the playground, jumping ahead of the line to announce her good fortune from the top of the slide.
"Ruby, I hope you will wait your turn when you have tea with the Queen!" her friends grouse.
Ruby spreads her good news during a performance at Mr. Roy's Puppet Farm, rushes into her ballet class to spread the word without changing into her ballet costume, and yells out her tale to her weary dad before he can get in the door in the evening.
"Ruby, I hope you will remember to welcome people when you have tea with the Queen," he counsels.
Ruby's biggest faux pas of the day comes when she tell her news at dinner.
"BIVE BLIN BLIGHTED DOO BLAV BLEE BLIV BLEE FLEEN" she announces with a full mouth, spewing spaghetti everywhere, from her hair to her family's plates.
"Ruby, I hope you won't talk with your mouth full and won't tip your chair back and will use your fork and napkin when you have tea with the Queen!"
At last the big day comes. Pampered and primped and presumably with her best manners at the ready, Ruby and her mother drive sedately to--her grandmother's house. There on the porch is a large banner which reads "WELCOME TO TEA AT THE PALACE!"
"My princess!" welcomes Grandma, and the tea party is a huge success.
Oh, and Ruby even remembers to send "the Queen" a very polite thank-you note.
Thank you so much for inviting me to tea. I tried to use my best manners. The treats were delicious, but my favorite thing was just being with you.
I love you,
Normally I'm not a big fan of celebrity authors, but after all, Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson should know a thing or two about having tea with the Queen, and her advice on etiquette is good even if we never tip a teacup at Windsor Palace. The chief attractions here, however, are the exuberantly elegant illustrations of Robin Preiss Glasser, best known for her work in the very popular Fancy Nancy series. Tea for Ruby (Paula Wiseman Books) is a worthy addition to what might be termed the "pinque" genre of picture books for girls who like their heroines on the unabashedly fancy side.