A tiger cub and a baby crocodile square off for bragging rights.
In language that evokes the backyard more than Bengal, a little crocodile erupts from the river with a “BOO!” to make the title claim. The startled tigerlet responds: “Excuse me? I’m a TIGER. Way scarier than you.” The squabble escalates quickly both in scope (“I can scale the skin off a sambar. You’re just a dinky lil’ mudpuppy”; “You don’t know diddly squat”) and volume. It breaks off suddenly as ominous shadows signal the arrival of something “BIG…and SCARY!” That would be their moms, coming to collect them and who, both youngsters agree with relief, are really the scariest. Said moms have actually been intermittently visible all along, hanging back with indulgent looks in Derrick’s loosely drawn and brushed cartoon scenes. Perspectives vary, including a vertically oriented spread in which the tiger boasts of attacking from trees, and the climax of the argument faces the two off nose to nose in close-up as their tiny avatars pose atop all of the rhinos, elephants and water buffalo they can beat up in their imaginations. Labeled sketches on the endpapers provide a “Field Guide” to various jungle animals that put in cameos.
Fans of Kevin Sherry’s I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean (2007) or Bob Shea’s Cheetah Can’t Lose (2013) will enjoy this lively exchange of views. (Picture book. 5-7)