Tea For Ruby by Sarah Ferguson and Robin Preiss-Glasser

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Tea For Ruby by Sarah Ferguson and Robin Preiss-Glasser

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jo Heffer
Reviewed by Jo Heffer
Summary: Ruby is very excited as she has received an invitation to have tea with the Queen. However, it soon becomes clear, that if she is to accept she had better brush up on her manners. It seems that everyone has an opinion about how she should behave. Will she remember everything and will she enjoy her special tea?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 40 Date: October 2008
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's
ISBN: 978-1847384300

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Tea for Ruby is written by Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, and I have to admit to being a little curious about her writing style, not having read any of her previous children's stories. In this book she has teamed up with an excellent illustrator, Robin Preiss-Glasser to produce a delightful short story.

The heroine of the story is Ruby, who it soon transpires is rather forgetful as far as her manners are concerned. This becomes a particular problem when she receives an invitation to have tea with the Queen and suddenly, everyone she knows is reminding her how to behave. The postman warns her not to shout, her dance teacher suggests that she dresses appropriately, the shop assistant tells her that she must say 'please and thank you' and so it goes on. In fact everyone seems to have an opinion about the best behaviour for when one has tea with the Queen!

Throughout the book, through the very detailed illustrations, you can see Ruby becoming more and more confused as she tries to remember what everyone tells her. Soon the special day arrives and freshly groomed and smartly dressed Ruby sets off for her appointment. There is a rather surprising twist at the end though when she does not actually meet the Queen but she does have tea with someone even more special – her Grandma.

I shared this story with my three year old daughter who enjoyed it a lot. I felt that it was a clever story and I particularly liked the emphasis on manners. This could be an excellent book to share with a child who always has too much on his or her mind to remember them for themselves. I am always encouraging my daughter to say please and thank you and she was particularly insistent that Ruby should remember this as well.

We thought that the illustrations were exquisite. Ruby is portrayed wonderfully as a cheeky girl with straggly hair and freckles. She is obviously a little girl who likes to dress up and in all the pictures we see her in lots of fancy dressing up clothes. We particularly liked the picture where she is wearing a ballet tutu over her football kit! The drawings are very detailed but also delicate. There is so much to look at and enjoy in every one and my daughter will happily sit and look at these for quite long periods of time.

Although I really liked this story, I did find it quite difficult to read aloud. This is because it is all told through dialogue and most of that dialogue is Ruby saying I've been invited to have tea with the Queen! which is repeated on eight different pages. I found this quite monotonous after a while especially as it wasn't broken up by anything else. I found there were only so many ways I could say these words to make them sound interesting. However, there was one redeeming page when Ruby comes out with:

Bive blin blighted doo blav blee bliv blee Fleen!

which causes Ruby's mum to remind her not to speak with her mouth full. My daughter loved this page best of all.

There were however, a couple of additional pieces of text at the beginning and the end of the story. At the start we see the invitation which Ruby received which tells her she is to have tea with the Queen on Sunday and to bring her very best manners. On the final page there is an endearing letter from Ruby to her Grandma saying thank you for the tea. My daughter enjoyed seeing these as they looked like the real letters and invitations that she receives sometimes.

Overall, this was an enjoyable story with a very strong message about remembering manners. For that reason alone it is worth sharing with small children but they will also love seeing Ruby in all the lovely pictures. I think Sarah Ferguson has written an appealing story but then who better to write a story about tea with the Queen than someone who actually has done so!

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

For another book about manners we can recommend The Scallywags by David Melling.

Buy Tea For Ruby by Sarah Ferguson and Robin Preiss-Glasser at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tea For Ruby by Sarah Ferguson and Robin Preiss-Glasser at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Tea For Ruby by Sarah Ferguson and Robin Preiss-Glasser at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tea For Ruby by Sarah Ferguson and Robin Preiss-Glasser at Amazon.com.


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