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TIGER, TIGER by Dee Lillegard


by Dee Lillegard & illustrated by Susan Guevara

Age Range: 4 - 6

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-399-22633-8
Publisher: Putnam

Stunning, jewel-toned illustrations in gouache and chalk pastel on mixed-media paper bring a young boy’s imagination to life in this riveting tale. Left on his own on a hot day when the other villagers would rather be napping, Pocu finds a peacock feather in the forest and waves it, creating an imaginary playmate. The first wave makes the air cool; the second makes the flowers bloom; and the third creates “a great murmuring shadow” that speaks, asking for eyes, paws, body, tail, and stripes. The somnolent swishing of the feather in the dark forest coupled with the shadow’s seemingly innocent requests lull readers into the game; but soon the shadow reveals its true identity: a fierce, hungry tiger. Pocu is frightened until he remembers to use his feather. Each wave this time removes claws, paws, and tail, until Pocu finds himself alone again; now it is suppertime and he can go back to the village and join his family. Soft-focus illustrations in intense jades, blues, and browns evoke the deep forest setting; the peacock feather in a shimmery rainbow of colors stands out brightly. The tiger, first nothing but a dark swish, grows into a huge orange creature; the spread showing its ferocious face with its bared fangs is terrifying. Those who have scared themselves thinking about what might be lurking in the basement, in the attic, or out in the woods, will recognize the fun of make-believe fright as well as the welcome realization that the same force that created them can tame the beasts of the imagination. (Picture book. 4-6)