Sun and Moon Have a Tea Party delivers precisely the celestial gathering promised by its title: Sun and Moon meet for a tea party in the sky, cookies laid out before them on a cloud. They quickly discover, however, that they don’t see eye to eye. Because of their limited perspectives on the world, they don’t understand each other’s point of view.
Surely parents don’t get their children ready for bed, protests Sun, because children’s daytime activities are all he knows, and bright, sunlit mornings are when children get ready for school. Streets aren’t busy, asserts Moon. They are “as dark and as lonely as a moonless sky.” On and on they argue, until Cloud drifts by and suggests that they each stay up past their bedtime to see what the other sees.
Sun and Moon Have a Tea Party is the final book written by author-illustrator Yumi Heo, illustrated after her death in 2016 by Naoko Stoop, and it’s a splendid final gift to readers. The whole affair has a a timeless, old-school vibe, from its charming setup (who’d pass up a celestial tea party?) to Stoop’s soft-focus illustrations of parents and children in a friendly, intimate neighborhood, as Sun and Moon discuss what they regularly see from their aerial perches.
Stoop uses plywood for her canvas, which affords appealing textures and sumptuous colors to her mixed-media illustrations. In one spread, as Sun questions how birds can “snuggle down,” the brilliant blue of the birds pops on a spread otherwise dominated by earthy tones. Stoop also personifies Sun and Moon in endearing ways. They each hold teacups as they snack together: Sun uses a ray of sunshine to hold his, while Moon’s arms are two thin wisps of clouds that hover next to her. She even crosses them petulantly when she and Sun come to an impass. Expect giggles. Sun’s and Moon’s awestruck facial expressions at their moments of epiphany after seeing the world through one another’s eyes are sure to inspire requests for repeat reads.
Sun and Moon Have a Tea Party is a sweet, sunny reminder of what we gain when we broaden our perspectives—with tea and cookies, to boot.