Kids invited to tea with ‘Tealee’ at museum

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 27, 2001

Features Editor

"Tealee McNeely and Her Big Imagination"

will be challenging the imagination of Pike County youngsters when she visits the Pioneer Museum of Alabama at 2 p.m. Friday.

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Tealee is the "trademark" moniker of Debbie Withrow, a new regional children’s author in the Wiregrass area.

Withrow will appear at the museum dressed as her main character, "Tealee" and have lots of surprises and smiles for the children.

"My goal as an author of children’s books is to unfold a world of pretend, imagination, color, creativity and a child’s way of receiving lessons in manners," Withrow said.

"I had noticed that children aren’t taught manners the way we were. Manners are so important and I want children to learn them in a fun way and ‘Tealee’ is a good teacher."

"Tealee McNeely and Her Big Imagination" has been endorsed by Gov. Don Siegelman, several principals and teachers.

"This book goes back to teaching our children the basics of manners," Withrow said. "It teaches respect for themselves and their friends and, in return, they receive respect."

Children have so much fun with "Tealee" that they don’t even realize a lesson is being taught.

"A child’s world is a wonderful world," said Withrow, whose inspiration for her book came from playing with her grandmother. "My grandmother had a wonderful imagination and she taught me to use mine. "

"Tealee" will host a tea party for the children who come to hear the reading of a book all about her.

"I invite the children to come dressed for tea and to bring their wildest imaginations along," Withrow said. "A tea party with ‘Tealee McNeely’ is a fun experience and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon."