Mr. Tiger by Davide Cali, illustrated by Miguel Tanco (9781849767477)
Mr. Tiger is a wrestler with world-famous moves in the ring. His most famous move of all is The Leap of the Tiger, where he flies across the ring. Mr. Tiger has rivals in the ring and also friends who help him, but after the match all of the wrestlers are actually friends. But outside the ring and wrestling, Mr. Tiger doesn’t have any friends except for Fifi, his fluffy little dog. Mr. Tiger would like to be friends with someone, in particular a woman who works in a cafe named Lily. But Mr. Tiger can’t seem to work up the courage to speak with her at all. His worries about Lily are starting to effect his skills in the ring too, so he decides he must speak to her with a little pushing from his wrestling buddies. Time after time though, Mr. Tiger fails to speak up. Until one day, Fifi gets free and bumps right into Lily and her dog. Now it’s time to see if Lily likes wrestling at all!
There is a wonderful contrast between the loud yellow mask of Mr. Tiger, his dazzling moves in the ring in front of large crowds and then his shyness and lack of friends. Mr. Tiger wears his mask throughout the book, even when going about his day-to-day life. There is an added sense of whimsy when he wonders if Lily will accept him being a wrestler while wearing the mask. The text is brisk and vibrant with action in the ring, the humor of wrestler names, and just enough time to know Mr. Tiger is very lonely.
Tanco’s illustrations are bold and bright. He plays up the broadness of Mr. Tiger’s shoulders. Then there is the pink fluff that is Fifi snuggled against the yellow tiger mask. It is all clever and funny setting just the right tone about loneliness and shyness.
A clever mix of wrestling in the ring and wrestling with making a friend. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy provided by Tate.