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Saturday, October 19, 2019

A Tiger Like Me, written by Michael Engler and illustrated by Joelle Tourlonias. Translated by Laura Watkinson. amazoncrossingkids, Thomas Allen and Son, 2019. $23.99 ages 4 and up

"Tigers always need a good breakfast.
It makes us powerful and strong.
I leap up to my feeding spot.
With my tiger appetite, I devour
my tiger flakes and drink a big
glass of blood ... orange juice!
I crunch and munch just like a tiger.
And then I'm ready for adventures.

Because I am a tiger, 
a greedy, gutsy tiger! "

The opening endpapers of this delightful look at childhood imagination pull readers directly into the action. It shows a little boy, in tiger costume, waking in the early dawn.

"Even before the first ray of sunshine lights the sky,
one animal is already stirring.
In the tiger's den, two eyes blink sleepily.
The peaceful night is over.
Because the king of the jungle is awake!"

Awake he is, and ready to get this new day started. As all tigers would, he avoids both washing up and brushing his teeth. Instead he heads straight to the kitchen for breakfast, devouring his cereal and juice with gusto. Then, he is off on an adventure-filled day that includes hiding, sneaking, being rescued, the snowy outdoors, face painting, dad-scaring, a timeout, fort building, crafts with his attentive and helpful parents ... all before returning to his den at sundown.

Oh, dear! He's not nearly sleepy enough. So, he waits until he hears his parents head for bed and makes a beeline for a cuddle between the two. Aah, blissful sleep at last.

The closing endpapers show a tiny tiger returned to his den.

"The tiger returns to his den,
where he lies down, worn out after a long, exciting day.
In the forest and on the plain, everything is finally silent.
The little tiger shuts his eyes and dreams."

In between those endpapers, the double page spreads are awash with lyrical language, aptly describing the imaginative world of a small child. The digital illustrations bring that language to life with every turn of the page. Young listeners will be engaged from beginning to end. The action and the many clever and amusing details will bring them back to the story time and again. It is a wonderful book to read aloud with a group,  or to share quietly at bedtime with little ones. Careful scrutiny afford opportunities for observation and discussion. Lovely!

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