Following on from yesterday, today I’m sharing my Short Read of the Week, Midnight Tiger, by Gillian Lobel and Helen Lanzrein, published by Oxford University Press.
What it’s about:
Out in the dark, under the moon, the midnight tiger prowls alone. Soft through the jungle he pads along, then swishes his tail, and sings along…
… come with the midnight tiger on his night-time adventure in this beautifully told tale with a twist at the end.
This week, the books I have been reading to the children in Key Stage 1 have been based on tigers and this title just leapt out at me (pardon the pun). Initially the pictures were what drew me to the book – full of warmth and rich colours that were suitable for autumn. Once inside, the words also pulled me along, with the story told mainly in rhyming couplets – though every so often a half rhyme is thrown in there to keep me on my toes when reading aloud!
The musical rhythm of Lobel’s language kept the children listening intently, wide-eyed and excited for the next development as the ‘tiger’ slunk through the pages. We’re never given a complete picture of the tiger – as in a whole-body view – and this is key to the twist at the end, which is the reveal that the tiger, when indoors, is actually a great, furry, cuddly cat. At the end of each reading, I asked the children whether they think the animal was a tiger at all. Most think it never was – that it was always a cat whose coat looked different in the dark, or perhaps this was the story of an orange cat’s dream to become large, like his wild cousin.
However, some children believed in a magical possibility of the cat undergoing some sort of transformation inside or outside of the house and this is why books like these are so wonderful. They can spark a child’s imagination, encourage discussion and help a child express their views. This is a book to treasure, for the words and the pictures, and would be a soothing bedtime read.