In this modern fable, a young tiger leaves her family to find a way to earn the stripes she was not given at birth.
On her own, the tiger braves the blazing sun, the dark forest, and a rainstorm in search of her stripes, but each time when what she believes are stripes appear—shadows, scrapes, streaks of mud—they soon disappear. Finally, she climbs as high as she can and screams into the sky, demanding an answer as to why she was not given stripes like every other tiger and what she must do to earn them. In response, a voice tells the tiger that it gives all tigers stripes as a gift and that they do not have to earn them. Perplexed, she slips off alone and ponders what, if anything, is her gift. The next morning, the tiger ascends back to the high place and says, “Thank you,” to the sky for the gift that she realizes she was given: her striving. Through warm washes of orange and yellow, trees, bushes, and leaves take on the appearance of tiger stripes, a treat for observant readers. The disembodied voice in the sky is never named or explained, leaving readers to ponder it along with the tiger’s understanding of her unique gift—a lesson readers may not need to struggle as hard as the tiger to achieve but is still gently oblique.
A beautifully illustrated tale of self-acceptance. (Picture book. 4-8)