Review: How to High Tea with a Hyena (And Not Get Eaten)

Title: How to High Tea with a Hyena (And Not Get Eaten)
Author: Rachel Poliquin, Kathryn Durst (illustator)
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 5, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Celeste is a cockroach, and everyone knows that cockroaches are survivors, so who better to give advice on surviving an encounter with a polite predator? High teas are dainty meals with pretty teacups: you nibble tiny cakes, sip milky tea, and chit-chat about not-so important things like why doughnuts have holes and if fish have eyebrows. But Ruby the hyena is loud, ferocious, and tends to slobber. High-speed gobbling makes good sense in the wild, but it is a definite no-no in the tearoom! And Ruby just happens to be Queen of a very large clan of hungry hyenas. Will high tea be ruined by uninvited guests? Is Ruby peckish for something other than Celeste’s famous cream buns? Using her vast knowledge of hyenas, Celeste comes up with lots of strategies to get through high tea in one piece. Many of her suggestions are dangerous, most are absurd, but all are based on true hyena biology and hunting behavior.


In this book, Celeste the cockroach teaches how to survive having high tea with a hyena. She explains how to politely eat snacks and drink tea while having time to gossip. However, hyenas can’t learn these skills very well. Celeste has some strategies on how to interact with these polite predators. 

This was an adorable and funny story. I learned a lot about hyenas that I didn’t know before. I’d never heard of an aardwolf (a type of hyena) or that hyenas can’t climb so other predators hide their food in trees, away from hyenas. 

This story was funny in the way the hyena couldn’t behave politely during the high tea, but it was also a good teaching tool. The hyena shows how we shouldn’t behave in polite situations, so that will teach children what’s right and wrong during events like having high tea. It’s ironic that a cockroach, an insect associated with being dirty, was the one teaching about polite behaviour.

How to High Tea with a Hyena is a fun children’s book!

Thank you Tundra Books for providing a copy of this book.

What to read next:

How to Promenade with a Python (And Not Get Eaten) by Rachel Poliquin, Kathryn Durst (illustrator)

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, and LeUyen Pham (illustrator)

Other books in the series:

  • How to Promenade with a Python (And Not Get Eaten)

Have you read How to High Tea with a Hyena? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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