A little boy’s picture of a tiger comes to amazing life.
At the art gallery, Tom watches the tiger in a jungle painting full of lush green foliage. “And the tiger watches Tom.” At home, Tom uses crayons to draw a big tiger with “pointy teeth” and “green-jewel eyes.” In the shadows in his bedroom that night, Tom sees the eyes, twitching whiskers, and swishing tail, and he holds his breath. The tiger gets very close—and invites Tom to go for a walk. “Climb up. Hold tight.” They pad into the gleaming jungle, where “they see foxes and bears and even a lion” and play hide-and-seek. When they reach the river, the tiger helps Tom get over his fear of swimming. On the other side is a fair “high above the world and close to the stars.” Next, the tiger takes Tom down to a cave lined with walls of ice, where snow tigers love to dance. Everyone dances until Tom grows weary. He snuggles against the tiger and falls asleep, realizing he’s no longer afraid. Through her precise text, Hofmeyr espouses the joy of imagination and the power of art to stimulate it. The afterword discusses Henri Rousseau’s Surprised!, the painting that inspired the story; Hodgson’s elegant, softly textured colored-pencil illustrations both do it justice and ensure that the tiger never overwhelms readers. Tom has olive skin and straight black hair.
Simply lovely. (Picture book. 4-7)