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Don’t Dip Your Chips in Your Drink, Kate!

Posted on Apr 28, 2011

Caryl Hart (text) & Leigh Hodgkinson (illustrations)
(Orchard Books)

Kate P. Green has fairly awful table manners, according to her mother that is. Kate is at loss as what to do to improve them so she writes to the Queen, hoping Her Majesty might be able to help. But when she gets an invitation to go for tea at the palace with the Queen, Kate is in for a big surprise!

This hilarious story about table manners certainly won’t be teaching young audiences how to behave better at the table but might just help defuse the situation if it is a bone of contention in your house!
This story does to table etiquette what Kes Gray and Nick Sharratt’s Eat Your Peas did to fussy eating:  using humour and a good dose of reverse psychology will help children get to grips with what is expected of them. As with Rhino? What Rhino? Caryl Hart’s wonderful way with words brings fun, vitality to the story and the wonderful rhyming makes it a pleasure to read aloud. It is bursting with energy!

The text is perfectly coupled with Leigh Hodgkinson’s illustrations; Leigh draws the cutest characters and Kate is an absolute poppet. I love the style of her artwork, which uses a mix of patterns, collages and lots of different typographies. I absolutely love the Queen’s dress, decorated with buttons and her crown, made of gold leaf and sweets. The bright palette of colours used mirrors the energetic text and the chaotic artwork works in harmony with the humorous, witty story.

This is a hugely enjoyable book, and with a young Kate that goes to tea with the Queen at the palace at its heart, what a perfectly apt book for that special event going on tomorrow!
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