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The Picture Book Buzz

Tea With Oliver - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF Plus a Giveaway

Starting up a new friendship can be a struggle. An overture of friendship can be mistaken, seen as aloof (if you're an introvert) or overly aggressive (if an extrovert). But, when you take the time to listen and accept the differences in others, you make some amazing friendships.

Tea With Oliver

Author Illustrator: Mika Song

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishing (2017)

Ages: 4-8



Friendship, persistence, & tea party surprises.

Synopsis (from Barnes & Noble):

Filled with humor and heart and brought to life with gorgeous watercolor and ink illustrations, debut author-illustrator Mika Song shows readers how friends can come in all shapes and sizes and be found in the most unexpected places.

Oliver is not like other cats. He likes cookies and tea and just wants a friend to share them with.

Philbert is the shy mouse who lives under Oliver’s couch. He tries to get Oliver’s attention by writing him notes, but Oliver doesn’t notice little Philbert. When a full-on cat party erupts at Oliver’s apartment, brave Philbert decides this is his big chance to finally introduce himself to Oliver.

Dear Oliver, Let’s have tea. Love, Philbert (under the couch)

Opening Lines:

Oliver talks to himself a lot.

"it's a nice day for tea, but who will have tea with me?"

"Me! I'll have tea."

Philbert talks to Oliver a lot.

But Philbert is too shy to come out from under the couch.

Why I Like This Book:

Despite their differences, Philbert is determined to make friends with Oliver and join him for tea. But Philbert's screams and notes go unnoticed (or misunderstood). So determined, Philbert even wanders into a party of wild cats to try to get Oliver's attention.

Subtly this book is also even perhaps a bit about seeing what is right before you're eyes. Oliver, so desperate to share tea with someone, wades through a riotous party with his tea cups. The "fair weather" guests flee once a catastrophe occurs.

Finally, once Oliver is still, Philbert gets his attention. When Philbert saves the day, he not only gains a friend, but cookies with his tea.

Packed into the beautiful, soft illustrations and spare text is an amazing number of aspects of friendship sure to spark some interesting discussions. Where do you find friendship? Who is a good friend? How do you make /be a friend? I also found it interesting, that only Oliver and Philbert have three whiskers (only one on the left side). They have more in common than merely a love of tea.

This delightful picture book is a perfect read as school starts up again. Be sure to look at the end pages and under the dust cover for some sweet treasures from Mika Song.

Related Activities:

- listen to Mika Song read Tea with Oliver outloud (;

- have a tea party and play some "tea party" games (; or

- encourage kids to look around the playground or classroom for someone who needs a friend.

Be sure to comment either here or on Monday's interview of Mika Song ( for an opportunity to win a free copy of Tea with Oliver.

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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