What You Need to Know:|
• First published in 1964, this incredible book continues to be charming more than forty years later.
• Good behavior is an underlying message in this silly tale.
• Beni Montresor won the Caldecott medal in 1965.
• The rhyming language is fun to read and pleasant to hear.
• This special book should be on everyone's bookshelf.
Who doesn’t like getting an invitation...discovering the mail in the mailbox, opening the envelope and feeling the excitement of being included. Those are just some of the emotions that the reader might feel upon seeing the first page of this book. Now imagine that the invitation is from a King and Queen. Pretty cool, huh? Well, unlike some of us, the main character doesn’t give a simple yes when invited to tea with a King and a Queen. He politely asks the King and Queen if he “may bring a friend.“ The King and Queen are quite polite in return and respond that any friend of his is a friend of theirs. Good behavior to emulate but just wait until your reader sees this kid’s friends.
This boy isn’t dragging along other little boys and girls, he shows up with an enormous giraffe – on a leash. The King and Queen don’t seem to mind this unusual guest and the little group proceeds to sit down for a lovely cup of tea. Apparently all went well because soon enough, the little boy receives another invitation. Once again he asks to bring a friend and once again, The King and Queen reply that his friends are their friends. This time, the boy appears with a huge rhinoceros. He’s on a leash too. They sit down to eat and although the animal is a bit messy, the hosts don’t seem disturbed. Everyone seems to be enjoying this arrangement and so it repeats several more times. The boy brings monkeys, an elephant, lions and a seal. The animals are fun and entertaining and all the guests seem to enjoy these get-togethers. The King and Queen are the epitome of “laid back” as they spend their time in between visits sharing such tranquil activities as fishing, dancing and catching butterflies. Their ease with each other and apparent contentment with what life hands them, prompts a similar feeling from the reader.
The rhyming language is simply perfect. You can read this book over and over again and it gets better every time. The vibrant illustrations, fitting of such a majestic story line, bring to mind visions of grandness and seem to motivate the reader to think beyond the smallness of his own world. Maybe the good manners displayed will also prove inspirational to young readers. I love the subtle message to be polite and inclusive, although I have to admit I may draw the line if someone shows up at my house with a giant giraffe – even if he is on a leash.
Beatrice Schenk De Regniers
1964, 48 pages
Animals, Award Winners, Behavior, Excellent Read-Aloud, Extraordinary Illustrations, Friendship, Rhyming Language
• Would you like to have dinner with a King and Queen?
• If you could bring a friend, who would it be?
• Do you think this story takes place recently or a long time ago?
• How does the boy feel about his invitation from the King and Queen?
• Does this story make you feel happy or sad?
• Do the pictures help you follow along with the story?
• Are some party guests more appropriate than others?
• Do you have a pet you'd like to bring to a party?
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