This is a delightful storybook published in print in 1990. It features a darling little girl named Elizabeth Ann who is convinced her friend, Mrs. Gigglebelly, will join her for tea despite her mother's protests that there isn't time to prepare. As the little girl plans for her guest, her mother frantically tries to finish spring cleaning. While her mother beats the rugs, washes the windows and attends to many household chores, the little girl waits ... and waits.
Then finally 'Mrs. Gigglebelly' arrives. Unbeknownst to Elizabeth Ann, it is her mother who actually is all dressed up in several props from the house, including a lampshade that covers her face. Now her mother's anxiety and desperate attempt to get everything done seem so much more understandable. The story is told with dialogue and clues in the illustrations.
This charming book was given an average of 4.5 stars for the print edition by several Amazon.com reviewers, and I couldn't agree more. It is a short, sweet tale that children (and their parents) will enjoy. Many a harried mother will also identify. It's heartwarming to see a mom trying so hard to make time to share in an imaginative playtime ritual - the tea party.
The illustrations are beautiful watercolors that give the book a timeless quality. It is also nicely narrated by Karen Achipley and has music that fits the story well. It is solidly made with easy page turning, simple settings and easy to read text. While short, it is a lovely book that translates nicely to the iPad, making a perfect bedtime read.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Donna Guthrie/Katy Keck Arnsteen
4 - 6 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 8
Elizabeth Ann is a little girl who tells her mother one morning, "Mrs. Gigglebelly is coming for tea today." Her mom is concerned because she is too busy to host a guest as she is cleaning house all day. Elizabeth Ann concedes that she can just have lemonade and crackers with jelly if her mother is too busy to bake a cake and make tea. As the little girl prepares her 'tea party' the scenes show her mother frantically trying to get all her housework done. It seems as if Mrs. Gigglebelly will not show, but at the last minute she arrives and has a wonderful time with Elizabeth Ann. Her mother is no where to be seen when Mrs. Gigglebelly is there - and then we see why in the final scene. The hat, shawl and sash that we see on Mrs. Gigglebelly is really made up of a lampshade, curtain and other items from the house to make up a disguise worn by her mother, who was the one all along that 'played' Mrs. Gigglebelly! No wonder she was frantic ... because she wants to make sure her little girl can still say, "Mrs. Gigglebelly always has time for me!"