Peter Brown, is a charming children's book about a tiger who has grown tired of the very proper and conservative society in which he lives. He looks very dapper in that top hat and bow tie, but Mr. Tiger just wants to be free. When he finally starts acting on this desire, however, his friends and neighbors aren't so happy about it, and he has to leave the city.
Just from this, it sounds like kind of a sad story about intolerance, but Mr. Tiger Goes Wild has a nice ending. The wild turns out not to be as great as Mr. Tiger expected, and he returns to the city, presumably resigned to resume his previous conformity to the society's rules about behavior and fancy dress. To his surprise, though, all his friends and neighbors have apparently decided maybe Mr. Tiger had the right idea (to an extent) --- everyone seems to have found a nice balance between being proper and being wild, and they welcome Mr. Tiger back with open arms (open forelimbs?).
So really, I see this as a fun story for kids about being yourself, even if that doesn't necessarily fit in with the social norms. Mr. Tiger was brave enough to step outside the box and take control of his individuality, and in the end it turned out that probably all his friends secretly wanted the same thing, but it took the courage of one person (or tiger) to show that he was comfortable enough with himself to give everyone else the courage to be more like themselves, too.
Brown's illustrations are really appealing to me. A note in the book states that they were made with India ink, watercolor, gouache, and pencil on paper. I don't really know anything about illustrating, but that sounds like a lot of time, patience, talent, and love for his work had to go into the creation of the art for this book. And it shows, because they're fantastic. Not to mention there is just something about the idea of animals in Victorian-era clothing that makes me smile, and Mr. Tiger's grumpy face at the beginning of the book is kind of adorable and hilarious.
I got this book for my niece and nephew for Christmas, and I hope they both enjoy it. I think they will, and if they do, I'll certainly be on the lookout for more books written and/or illustrated by Brown in the future for the little ones in my family.
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