Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Maybelle Goes to Tea

Maybelle Goes to Tea

Katie Speck
Illustrator:  Paul Ratz de Tagyos 
Fiction  Series
For ages 5 to 7
Henry Holt and Co., 2008   ISBN: 978-0805080933

Maybelle the cockroach and her friend Henry, who is a flea, live in Mr. and Mrs. Peabody's home. The Peabodys are very particular. They like everything in their home to be “just so,” and they cannot abide insects of any kind. Maybelle and Henry therefore have to be very careful. They cannot be seen and they have to play it safe.

Maybelle and Henry are abiding by The Rules that have to govern their lives when a fly gets into the house. The foolish creature tries to get out by crashing into the door, wall and window in the kitchen. Not surprisingly it knocks itself out and Maybelle and Henry have no choice but to rescue it. They cannot let the Peabodys see the fly because if they do there will be an “Extermination Event” in the house.

Though it is broad daylight, and therefore very risky, the two insects do their best to hide the fly. They have barely begun transporting the fly across the kitchen floor when the Peabodys come home. Dodging feet and trying not to be seen, Maybelle carries the fly to her home under the fridge. Unfortunately, when the fly (who is called Maurice) sees the food that Mrs. Peabody is serving at her Ladies Spring Tea, he makes a beeline for it before Maybelle can explain how important it is for him to remain hidden.

Irritated by Maurice's uncouth ways, and by the fact that he is getting to sample Mrs. Peabody's Chocolate Surprises, Maybelle throws caution to the wind and heads for the food herself. She is going to “Go for it.” Which is when Ramona the cat finds her. Even though Maybelle is supposed to stay away from adventures, she finds herself right in the middle of one. Not surprisingly, the adventure escalates until it becomes a full blown catastrophe.

In this amusing Maybelle title, Katie Speck takes her intrepid insect heroes on another adventure that young readers will find amusing and entertaining. Though rules can be tiresome, it is easy to see why they are sometimes necessary, especially if you are an insect. The thing is, life can be full of surprises even when you do obey The Rules.