Written with both the novice and curious tea drinker in mind, Sebastian Beckwith and Caroline Paul’s A Little Tea Book: All the Essentials From Leaf to Cup (Bloomsbury, $20) is a primer on all things Camellia sinensis (tea plant). But don’t think this little book just contains a few tips on making a proper cuppa—it brings history, culture, science, and industry into the brew as well to expound on the complexity of the tea world. Did you know that tea aficionados use descriptive smells such as saddle leather, roasted chestnut, and even boggy moor to explain their favorite tastes? You will never sip a mug of Earl Grey the same way again. Punctuated with inviting illustrations by Wendy MacNaughton (of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat fame) this guide will inspire readers to throw out their tea bags and reach for the loose leaf.
Kate DiCamillo has demonstrated her masterful ability to interweave themes of loss and hope in her many award-winning novels, including Because of Winn-Dixie and Flora and Ulysses. Now, in the nearly wordless La La La (Candelwick, $17.99), DiCamillo uses only the sparsest of language to depict a child’s sense of loneliness. Follow a little girl’s emotional journey as she puts a simple song out into the universe and waits to hear back— from anyone or anything. She thinks she finds her perfect partner in another solitary creature, but must wait to see if her message is heard and reciprocated in kind. Jamie Kim’s gorgeous illustrations, featuring richly saturated oranges, yellows, greens, and purples, carry the narrative weight of this story and lend poignancy to DiCamillo’s few and well-chosen words. Ages 5-8.
Peter and his friends have grand plans to dress up as pirates for the school costume party, but when he shows up in an elaborate Robinson Crusoe costume instead, all he gets is ridicule. To escape the laughter, Peter runs home and into bed, where images of an unfamiliar land and wild creatures invade his dreams. He becomes Robinson (Scholastic, $17.99)! Finding inspiration in his own childhood memories, Peter Sís fills each page with lush watercolors of blue waters, eye-catching designs of flora and fauna, and intricate details of Peter’s adventurous journey of imagination in this tribute to the power of literature. Ages 6-9.