Caroline Dotson: 'Tea for Ruby' a charming delight

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Robin Freiss Glasser, the illustrator who brought "Fancy Nancy" to life, brings readers a new character that is cute, klutzy, and forgetful in the new book "Tea For Ruby," written by Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York.

This tale starts with Ruby sitting in her front yard having a tea party with her stuffed friends when the mailman delivers the mail. In her fancy purple dress, red royal cape and soccer cleats, Ruby fetches the mail, spilling it all over the sidewalk only to find her name addressed on a pretty pink envelope. It is an invitation to have tea with the queen.

Ruby is so excited to share her news with everyone that she forgets her manners. She interrupts her brother, doesn't wait her turn at the playground, wears soccer cleats to ballet class, forgets to say "please" and "thank you" to a sales clerk, and talks with her mouthful at dinner. Ruby's mother reminds her of the forgotten manners and encourages her to not forget them when having tea with the queen.

One day while Ruby is playing with her princess and prince dolls, she ignores her father's plea to be welcomed (and helped since he has his hands full of groceries) because she is too involved with dreaming about her tea with the queen - a daydream that occurs throughout the book with each person in the story.

When the day arrives, Ruby's mother helps her put on a beautiful little dress, while Ruby recites all the manners she needs to remember while visiting with the queen.

When Ruby arrives at the queen's house, she walks down a walkway to find her grandma dressed up, crown and all. Ruby almost seems disappointed at first but when grandma calls her a "Princess," Ruby's disappointment slips away, and she enjoys the tea party with grandma.

Robin Freiss Glasser does a great job at bringing Ruby to life with her tutus and tiaras, while in shorts or play dresses. The fancy detail adds an extra element of grandeur to the simple story.

Little girls will love Ruby because she is just like them - dressing up like a princess and being delighted in by a grown-up. Although Ruby never gets scolded for her less than perfect behavior, she does realize her mistakes and takes extra care to be on her best behavior while having tea with the queen.

"Tea For Ruby" was published by Simon & Schuster in 2008.

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