Set amidst a dystopian hellscape of repetition and conformity, Barnett and Klassen's story evokes a quiet terror in the unwary reader. Look into Triangle's mad, staring, eyes and see the sort of dread that comes to us all after thirty-six hours of bad coffee and no sleep.
The prose has been sucked dry of blood, or color, or warmth, or life: there is no trace of anything humane left. The prose is so terse, so spare, Cormac McCarthy is beating out his own despairing brains with the crumbling remains of Hemingway. No one else will ever approach so near to the void, where the only solace is that you have no back to turn on your best friend before he stabs you in it.
Most artists set their haunted houses amidst dark and shadowy sets, where the difficulty of seeing permits the mind to fill in the half-glimpsed with all that is worst in the imagination. Barnett and Klassen have set their nightmare against a stark, white, relentless background: this world is devoid of a single softening shadow, the universe itself is as inescapable and cruel as the ubiquitous eye of Big Brother.
In the end you are left exhausted, with nothing left except Triangle and Square, the two-dimensional shapes of pain.
Minus one star for neither giving the recipes nor the key to comprehend the little pictures. Fortunately, I don't like tea (except iced, I live in the South), so I'm not terribly offended. but really, the whole multi-cultural aspect suffers if you don't take the time to explain how different peoples prepare their tea. Not every kid will care, but the adults who read to them are always excited to find something in a book that they can do together afterwards, and have a tea-party with three different kinds of tea would be ideal.