‘Three for Tea’ collects three stories by each of the children’s laureate authors, anthologising these for the first time in a single volume.
Jacqueline Wilson’s story ‘My Brother Bernadette’ takes an astute look at gender stereotyping as the bully-boy of the summer project, Big Dan, picks on sensitive and creative Bernard prompting the group to follow his lead. Rugged determination wins the day, however, as Bernard single-mindedly sets out to learn to sew and through so doing finds a highly creative way to wreak his revenge upon Big Dan.
The clock is on in Anne’s Fine’s ‘Countdown’ which sees Hugo desperate for a pet gerbil. His dad agrees provided Hugo is able to stay alone in his bedroom for seven-hours, the length of time any prospective pet gerbil would be expected to entertain itself within caged walls during Hugo’s absence at school. This compassionate and deft allegory stimulates early moral and ethical consideration.
The third tale, ‘Snakes and Ladders’ plays out the downs of bullying and the ups of heroism and bravery in the school yard! Michael Morpurgo gives an expose that provides insight into the roots and the dynamics of bullying. The victim of Simon McTavish’s snide remarks, Wendy’s home life is disturbed when her granddad is taken into hospital for a hip operation. Concerned as to what to display from her life on the ‘interesting things’ table, Wendy eventually settles on Slinky, her granddad’s pet snake, things quickly ‘ and quite literally ‘ get out of hand’
Each story showcases the works of the three ‘author’ laureates incredibly well. It seems a shame that the opportunity to cohere the stories through this has not been formalised with an introduction providing background to the laureate scheme thus advocating this. This omission feels a little like a missed opportunity and lends an otherwise very strong and inventive collection an air of the arbitrary. With full colour illustrations, and three tales by leading authors, “Three for Tea” will make a heartingly cost-effective introduction to favourite writers for many…