Teacup is gentle, lyrical, poignant—a story of courage and hope. “Once there was a boy who had to leave his home…and find another.” It seems that nothing much remains but the boy, his boat, his bag, a book, a bottle, a blanket, and a teacup, which holds earth from where the boy used to play. Some days the sea is kind, other days, bold. The boy has memories of home. We sense his longing, his sadness, the trials he has experienced. He’s a tiny dot on an endless sea. All alone, looking for land—hope on the horizon. Yet hope greets him before land does. A seedling sprouts from the teacup. It grows into a tree over trembling seas. It gives him “shelter and shade, apples to eat, branches to climb…From on high, he continued his search for a speck on the horizon.” A speck that would grow into something glorious—a new beginning where the past and future can come together.

I really only need the one word to describe this book—Breathtaking. Young’s words are beautifully crafted and considered—they’re rhythmic, descriptive, express movement and evoke images that are beyond the page—within our own memories or imagination. Ottley’s oil painting illustrations are sublime. Realism and magic interlaced. He uses scale and light to emphasise the boy’s loneliness. Colour choices also add to the emotions of this sensitive story.

Scholastic has provided Background Info and Teachers Notes that you can download, with a number of activities and talking points.


  • Published by Scholastic Press
  • 6-10 years
  • 5