Read to Tiger by S. J. Fore, illustrated by R. W. Alley
Turn on the light, curl up on the couch, open your book, you are ready to read. But what’s that noise?! A tiger is behind the couch chomping on gum! This little boy has one naughty tiger to deal with just as he is settling in for a great read. After the tiger stops chewing him gum loudly, the tiger growls pretending to be a bear. Then the tiger starts practicing his karate, with great yells and high kicks. The tiger then choo-choos past on a train. And finally picks up the couch itself to look for his whistle. Finally, the little boy has had enough but just then, the tiger gets a glimpse of the book the boy has been trying to read and its picture of a tiger. Which may finally be what it takes to keep tiger quiet: a great story shared with a friend.
The humor of this book is evident from the very first encounter with the tiger. Wonderfully, the zaniness increases as the story goes on, and children are definitely going to be laughing out loud by the time Karate Tiger leaps onto the page. Fore has tapped into the glee that readers feel when they see the humor in a situation before the narrator in the book does. They will delight in it. Fore also has a wonderful pacing to the book with the tiger doing something disruptive, the boy correcting him, and then settling again to read his book, only to have the tiger do something even more outrageous.
Alley’s illustrations add to the action and wild abandon of the book. Alley’s use of subtle colors next to bright allows readers to feel the snuggly reading time and then to be jolted in turn by tiger and his red and yellow coat in full action. So much of the humor is visual here, and very successfully so.
If you are looking for a book about the pleasures of reading that is funny and filled with plenty of action, this is it. Even better, it is the sort of book that itself proves exactly why reading is fun. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy received from Viking.