A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Shows and describes a bit about Southern plantation life for slaves and gently gives an explanation of why forgetfulness comes with aging: "As some people grow older," Mama tells Tosh, "their minds can have good spells and bad ones. Some memories are clear as daylight. Others may turn hazy."
It's important to recall and retell family stories of courage. They inspire us and keep the bonds of family strong. If an elder starts to forget, it's up to younger ones to keep family stories -- and recipes -- alive. Also implicit: You can learn a lot from your grandparents.
Positive Role Models
Grandma Honey is loving and shares important stories of ancestors' courage -- and the tea cake recipe -- with Tosh. Tosh is kind and repectful, stepping up to help when Grandma Honey starts to forget. Mama is sweet and tender with Tosh and helps him understand what's happening to Grandma Honey. Great-Great-Great-Great Grandma Ida is an inspiring figure, who risked being whipped to give slave children on the plantation "a taste of freedom."
Violence & Scariness
No violence in the present, but historical references to slavery.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Tea Cakes for Tosh is a moving story about the bond between a grandmother and grandson that recalls a family's slave past and celebrates the importance of stories than connect us to our ancestors. It also shows the complex reality of a young boy discovering his beloved grandma is losing her memory. Full of love and tenderness, Tea Cakes for Tosh is a great read-aloud for kids who know a bit about slavery and are ready for a sensitive treatment of an older person's growing forgetfulness.
Is It Any Good?
TEA CAKES FOR TOSH is a warm, sensitive story that recalls the slave period in American History. It celebrates family ties and the courage of our ancestors, and delicately captures the confusion a kid may feel when an older loved one shows signs of senility or Alzheimer's. Caldecott-winning illustrator E.B. Lewis' gorgeous watercolors are full of emotion and perfectly suited to this gentle, moving tale.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.