Friday, 8 March 2013

The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr (HarperCollins Children's Books)

File this one under "I Can't believe we haven't reviewed this before" but after countless borrows from the library it's probably about time we did.

Charlotte loves this book to bits. I'm still a bit unsure, as I rather thing the tiger's a bit of a cad.

It tells the tale of a little girl who answers the door one day to find a rather large (and extremely hungry) tiger standing there. Her mother, polite as people were in the 1970s, invites the stripy chap in to stay for tea. And stay he does! First he polishes off all the cakes, then glugs down a huge pot of hot tea (Charlotte was a bit concerned he'd burn his mouth but I told her tigers have heatproof tongues).

He doesn't stop there, the tiger basically strips the house of anything edible (probably fortunate that the poor family didn't have a pet fish or pooch). Then without so much as a nod or a wink the tiger makes his excuses and leaves.


Poor mummy is left with no food in the house, and (shock horror!) nothing to give daddy for tea when he gets home (ahhh the 70s, how I love thee!)

Thankfully daddy is resourceful and whisks them off for a slap up feed at a local cafe.

I had to argue Charlotte down on this one being book of the week, I think it's definitely one of Kerr's best but I couldn't get past that tiger being a complete (insert adult choice of rude word here) and the poor little girl's various attempts to cuddle and fuss him go completely ignored (probably just as well, too much attention and the girl would've ended up nestling in the tiger's tum!)

I am sure we'll end up borrowing this from the library a few times more before Charlotte realises the tiger's a bad lot and completely falls out of love with him. In the meantime though, I jest, this is a timeless classic and gives hours of entertainment particularly if you share your home with a couple of greedy 'tigers' who strip the cupboards bare and use up all the hot water.

Charlotte's best bit: Inevitably, "The girl is ME!"

Daddy's favourite bit: I like to entertain myself by imagining what this book would be like with contemporary noughties values attached. Will we see a day where someone revisits brilliant old 70s kids books like this and PCs them? Would the tiger be as keen to eat a family out of house and home if all he found in the cupboard was a horsemeat lasagne and a tub of hoummous?