2 out of 4 stars
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I’m always looking for new books to enjoy with my two daughters and eagerly made this selection. Tea with the Queen is a children’s book by Charles Lunsford. It features some interesting characters and eye-catching pictures. Unfortunately, it also contains many errors along with thematic inconsistencies. I rated this book 2 out of 4 stars.
The story introduces us to a regal queen and her family. She and the king have been married for many years and have 4 children and several grandchildren. While the queen is grateful for her blessed and wonderful life, she is worried that her sons will not be able to attend her 90th birthday party. Her daughter does whatever she can to make her mother happy and sends messengers out to distant lands in search of the princes. The princess works hard to put together a lovely birthday party with an extensive guest list, an elaborate menu, and entertainment provided by the queen’s granddaughters. As the date of the party draws near, no word has been heard from the far-off princes and the queen laments her party will not be successful without them.
Tea with the Queen contains some meaningful themes such as the bond of family, acceptance, being free from prejudice, and contentment. These themes are usually wonderful in children’s books and I initially had high hopes for this book. However, there were so many inconsistencies that left me confused. For example, the queen feels she won’t have any fun at her party if her sons aren’t there, but seems to take for granted her daughter and granddaughters that remain near her, serving her and preparing for the party. It felt very sexist to me. In another part near the beginning of the story, the queen and her daughter make a joke about one of the princes being gay, but later the queen reflects on how she’s always been accepting and loving toward her son and his partner. I didn’t ever really know what point the author was trying to make. There were also more than a dozen grammatical, word use, and punctuation errors. The misuse of there/they’re/their made me want to pull my hair out.
I did appreciate the descriptions of the king and queen’s love story and felt like they both did truly care for and admire each other and their children. The princess, princes, and the grandchildren dote on and adore the queen. The art work throughout the book was also very cute and charming. Illustrator Jane Walker is clearly very talented and her pictures brought life to the story.
I’m not sure who I would recommend this book to. Lots of people like children’s books and perhaps others are better at overlooking errors than I am. I think with the help of a good editor and a few re-writes, this story could be quite good, but as it is now, I won’t be sharing it with my children.
Tea With the Queen
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