I Host a Mad Hatter's Tea Party09:30
It’s Notebook Sisters’ third blog birthday and they’re throwing an Alice in Wonderland themed party. The characters from Alice in Wonderland have invaded my house though, and invited themselves to tea. I should be very annoyed at them, but the Mad Hatter and the Jabberwocky have just arrived, so I suppose I can forgive them, just this once. Our teatime conversation quickly turns to books. Of course they would be interested in books, coming from such a good one themselves.
Alice smiles at me. “So Imogen,” she says. “You read a lot, don’t you? I love looking at all the book covers. They all so curious, like you could step through them into a different world. Have you seen a book that makes you curious?”
I think hard. “Well, there is the cover to Daughter of the Flames,” I say. “I’ve never read it, but it’s got a warrior girl with two swords and wrapped in flames. Now if that doesn’t promise an interesting story, I don’t know what does. I shall have to read it and find out if it’s as good as the cover suggests.”
The Mad Hatter looks down at his tea cup. “Clean cup,” he declares. “Clean cup. Move down.” We all shuffle one seat along. Now I’m sitting where he was. Crumbs litter the tablecloth. I wrinkle my nose. He’s such a messy eater. The Mad Hatter grins at me, his smile more than a little crazed. “I don’t suppose you’ve met any characters crazier than me, have you?” He pulls a pocket watch out and checks the time, then snaps it closed and stuffs it back into his pocket. “Just as I thought. Still tea time.”
I have to hide a smile. There aren't many characters crazier than this bunch. “I don’t think there are many people who can rival you,” I say. “But one character who always seemed a bit mad to me was Miss Haversham from Great Expectations. She kept her wedding cake for years, even though she never managed to get married. There were even mice and bugs in it!”
“Always tea time.” The Mad Hatter nods approvingly. “Sensible woman.”
“Off with her head,” the Red Queen snorts. “That sound terrible. Some books should have their heads chopped off." She bats her eyes at me. "I could behead a book for you if you like?"
She’s offering to behead a book for me? At least she’s not trying to cut off my head. “Les Miserable would be my choice,” I say. “I simply could not enjoy it. Too much history I’m afraid. It’s a very good book I’m sure, but all that history…” I sigh. “There’s probably no need to behead it though. Other people seem to like it.”
“Off with its head,” the Red Queen roars, thumping her fists on the table top.
At that moment, the White Rabbit dashes in, late as usual. He mops his brow with a hanky. “Oh dear. Late again. I’m always late. I suppose you’re never late for anything.” He sighs.
“Actually, I am,” I say. “I’m late to read awesome book series all the time. Just think, I’ve only just started reading the Lunar Chronicles, even though they’ve been popular for ages. I’m afraid I’m terribly behind the times. Don’t worry White Rabbit. You’re not the only one.”
“How can you be on time if you don’t even know who you are?” The Caterpillar blows smoke in my face and I choke. “You must get so confused. I’m sure there are many books that have confused you.”
I nod slowly. “The Ring of Five did. I never knew who was on whose side. The second book was just as confusing. They were very entertaining though. Also, don’t blow smoke in my face. That’s a dirty habit.”
The Dormouse pokes its head out of the tea pot. What is it doing in there? It yawns. “Some books are more boring than confusing,” it says. “Do books ever bore you? They send me to sleep sometimes.” It yawns again, eyes sliding shut. “Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle…” The Dormouse disappears back into the tea pot before I have a chance to answer, but everyone else is looking at me expectantly.
“The second Eragon book, Eldest, bored me," I have to admit. "I’m sure it’s a good book, but I got ever so bored during all the training Eragon did. I couldn’t be bothered finishing it.” Hopefully no one will blame me for not enjoying this famous book.
The Cheshire Cat grins widely. “That sounds terrible," he purrs. "I’d rather laugh than yawn. Boring books tend to make me evaporate. Can you tell me of any books that made you laugh? I could always do with some good recommendations.”
“The Lost Hero,” I say promptly. “Leo Valdez always makes me laugh so hard. Plus the demigods always get into such humorous situations. In fact, all the books in the series make me laugh so much.”
“Laughter is overrated,” the Knave of Hearts says with a sweet smile. He slips a tart off the Red Queen’s plate while she's not looking and eats it delicately, licking his fingertips when he’s done. “What you need is a loveable character. Some dashing rogue who can run off with your heart. I’m sure there’s one or two characters who’ve taken your fancy recently.” He smiles slyly. “Go on, you can tell us.”
“I think the character I’ve liked most recently is Conor Broekhart from Airman. He survives prison, the betrayal of his family and friends, and still manages to overcome the villain and win the heart of the fair lady. Plus he builds airplanes and can sword fight like a pro. He’s definitely a dashing hero.”
“Dashing heroes.” The Jabberwocky sneers. “There are far too many of those in books nowadays. A good villain is what a book needs to be great. Give a man a vorpal sword and they all think they’re heroes.But true villains are rare.”
“If you gave Opal Koboi a sword, she’d probably work out a way to use it for her own gain,” I say. “She’s an excellent villain. Ruthless, with a clever brain. Even Artemis Fowl has trouble keeping up with her sometimes. I could learn a thing or two from her about plotting.”
Alice looks at the clock and sighs. “I’m afraid it’s just about time for us to go back down the rabbit hole where we belong. I’m ever so glad I found my rabbit hole. Have you found yours yet?”
I nod. “I think that the Lunar Chronicles is my rabbit hole at the moment. I am quite determined to read them all. They’re the series I’m most interested in.” I look round wistfully. “Are you sure you have to go? After all, it is still tea time. I think there might be some tarts left?”
The Red Queen glances down at her plate. “Someone’s stolen my tart." Her face turns red. “Off with your heads, all of them.” The whole assembly flees the room in a shower of crumbs and crockery, pursued by the Red Queen, now wielding a flamingo like a club. As the sound of their pursuit fades into the distance, I am left with a table full of crumbs and a big smile. Who knew I’d be having tea with people from Wonderland itself?