Little Ruby reached the Age of Awkwardness and never left. Her family and friends marvel at her ability to drop and spill things, to trip and tumble. Then one day, they marvel when she receives an invitation to take tea with the queen of England! How, they all wondered, could this lovable klutz survive an afternoon with Her Royal Highness? In Tea for Ruby, the answer is served up with grace and poise; not surprising, perhaps, because the author is none other than Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York!
It seems entirely fitting that a book about a girl invited to take tea with the queen carry the Duchess of York's byline. The author shares her etiquette rules for such a scenario via unruly Ruby, whose excitement renders her boisterous and ineloquent. As she repeatedly proclaims, "I've been invited to have tea with the Queen!," other characters admonish her to mind her various manners: "I hope you won't talk with your mouth full"; "I hope you won't interrupt"; "I hope you'll remember to sit up straight." Ruby barrels through the bustling pages like a little tornado, hair tumbling, shoelaces undone; it's easy to understand everybody's trepidation. Interspersed with pictures of Ruby's chaotic life are her imaginings of an elegant existence at the palace, depicted in golden line drawings, against which she and the other characters are regally clothed in 18th-century-style garments. The thin plot may disappoint princess-loving readers, especially when the identity of "the Queen" is finally revealed, but Glasser's exuberant illustrations, rendered in her unmistakable Fancy Nancy style, sustain the book's spirit. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
As the regally but a bit wildly dressed Ruby is having a tea party with her dolls, she is thrilled to receive an invitation to have tea with the Queen. An added note states, "Please bring your very best manners." She rushes to tell everyone the exciting news. Each time she announces it, she reveals how very far she is from "best manners." Ruby's brother hopes she will not interrupt the queen, as she does him. Ruby's friends hope she will learn to wait her turn, as they repeat the refrain spoken earlier by Ruby's brother: "when you have tea with the queen." In this way, Ruby is reminded of her manners, including dressing appropriately, saying "please" and "thank you," not talking with her mouth full, and so forth. All of the advice goes through Ruby's head as she prepares on the big day, which has a heart-warming surprise ending. Glasser stuffs each scene full of active characters and contextual details. Her line drawings are charged with vitality. Watercolors and colored pencils enhance the energetic story as Ruby charges through the local scenes. The backgrounds of the imagined scenes set in the palace are produced with a monochromatic line in contrast to the colorful characters. On the end pages and back cover, line drawings in pink show characters in romantic costumes and fairy tale-like settings. It is an amusing way to remind little girls of good manners. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Another celebrity-authored book about manners. Princess-obsessed Ruby receives a card inviting her to have tea on Sunday with the Queen. As she rushes to tell everyone about her forthcoming engagement, family members, teachers, and friends remind her to adhere to various social graces such as saying "please" and "thank you," not interrupting, and chewing with her mouth closed. The story is simple and clever, and not at all didactic. Glasser paints Ruby as an impetuous, rosy-cheeked girl with a creative imagination and lots of charm. The playful drawings depict an excited Ruby shouting and pushing to tell everyone her news while imagining herself as a proper young lady wearing frilly gowns in elaborately drawn palace settings. Even the lettering for "The Queen" becomes increasingly ornate as Ruby's anticipation grows. She's not disappointed when her hostess turns out to be Grandma. This book will fill a need for girls who can't get enough books about princesses in pink.-Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT