A kid who stands out for dressing as a tiger finds he's not as alone as he thought in a gentle story about making new friends.
Toby, a young boy, "liked being a cat more than a boy." Around the house, he plays the part of a frisky cat in a full-body tiger costume. At school, the imaginative play continues as he pounces on leaves, scratches in a sandbox (which, luckily, readers don't see employed as a litter box), and climbs a tree. There, he runs into trouble, remembering that cats can't climb back down. Pete, a young boy in the tree dressed as a monkey, helps out. After Toby and Pete become fast friends, they help a girl named Dottie dress up and join in as a bird named Polly. Author/illustrator Goldfinger's colored-in crayon scenes burst with energy and warmth, and she gets a lot of mileage with expressions that are little more than two dots for eyes and simple, soft lines for faces. (Among their diverse class, Toby, Pete, and Dottie all have light skin.) The costumes look cozy and textured against expansive white backgrounds in compositions that are more sophisticated in the emotional, joyful moments they convey than the sketchy style would at first suggest.
With savvy restraint, Goldfinger presents the magic of just watching three children raptly engaged in play. (Picture book. 4-8)