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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, written and illustrated by Peter Brown. Little, Brown & Company, Hachette. 2013. $19.99 ages 3 and up

"Mr. Tiger was bored
with always being so proper.
Good day, Mr. Tiger.
Good day, Mr. Deer.
Lovely weather we are
I suppose.
Now, children,
please do not act like
wild animals."

Oh, Peter Brown! You do such brilliant work!

I couldn't wait to see this new book, and was delighted when Melanie made sure that it arrived in my mailbox last week. It has all the elements of the storytelling and entertainment that I have come to expect from this amazing artist. If you don't know his work, please take the time to seek it out and share it with your children and students. It will lead to chortling, perhaps even guffawing, and great delight that is sure to have them begging...'just one more time, please!'

Mr.Tiger is disgruntled with the way things are. It's all so polite and well, boring. Only Mr. Tiger brings color to his drab and tedious surroundings. While he is decked out in the very handsome attire that is expected of his Victorian surroundings, he has color in his face and paws...a glorious tangerine shade that stands out from the rest. Even his speech bubbles have color.

He is living a life he doesn't want to live. Only he can alter it. A wild idea leads to a startling new way of life. He moves about in a distinctly different manner. With each day new changes in demeanor emerge, and his friends and neighbors are dismayed and bewildered by his actions. They are also adamant that he leave:

"Mr. Tiger! If you must act wild, kindly do so in the WILDERNESS!"

That is exactly what he does. When loneliness rears its ugly head, he faces making another life-changing decision. He returns to his friends, and finds that things are no longer so staid and uppity. He is now a much happier tiger than he was before turning to his wild ways!

The artwork is stunning. Of it, Peter Brown has this to say:

Anyway, I knew I wanted to use watercolor for Mr. Tiger. Watercolor is just inherently beautiful, the little swirls and imperfections make it interesting and organic, with lots of happy accidents and gorgeous mistakes. But I didn’t want to do traditional watercolor paintings, I wanted the illustrations to have bold shapes with interesting patterns and rich textures, so I had to come up with my own way of using ink and watercolor. Instead of making tons of little pencil drawings, I made tons of little watercolor and ink shapes (as well as a few pencil drawings and handmade textures), and scanned them into Photoshop where I colored and layered and combined them into the finished illustrations. It took a while to figure out my new technique, but I’m pretty happy with the finished result."

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