Princess Tea Parties
By Michal Sparks
Harvest House Publishers, 2008
Every tea library needs to have a few books for young tea lovers, and one I like is "Princess Tea Parties: Royal Gatherings for Little Ladies," written and illustrated by Michal Sparks. In addition to the charming watercolors, Sparks gives a nice beginner's lesson on the basics of teatime, including a bit about the history of tea, how it is made, and what equipment is needed to prepare a pot of tea.
The book covers princess tea parties for all kinds of princesses, which greatly appeals to me. When I was a little girl, I heard that you were supposed to make a wish whenever you crossed a bridge. So, at each bridge crossing, I would dream that I would become a fairy princess, and alas I'm still waiting! But it's fun to dream, and little girls using this book can aspire to be royal princesses, fairy tale princesses, flower princesses and more. For each princess tea party suggested, there are easy recipes (the book tells girls when to seek an adult's help) and ideas for games, crafts and decorations as well.
One reason I think it's nice to consult a "children's" book sometimes is that it reminds us how easy a little creativity can be. For instance, in the chapter on hosting a Princess Plum Blossom Tea, which is inspired by Japanese tea ceremonies, there is a pattern for making kimono-shaped invitations. It's super easy, so why can't big girls use that idea as well? (My "big girl" friends, however, would probably *not* like the suggestion of having guests sit on cushions on the floor!) And another reason I like to have these books available is because occasionally I'm asked for children's tea party ideas and I can loan these to friends, which I am of course quite happy to do!