There’s a lot to go wild for in this picture-book celebration of individuality and self-expression.
Mr. Tiger lives a peaceable, if repressed, life alongside other anthropomorphic animals in a monochromatic, dreadfully formal little town. All the other animals seem content with their stiff, dull lives, except for Mr. Tiger, whose bright coloring is a visual metaphor for his dissatisfaction. When child (animal) characters scamper by, a bipedal horse admonishes them, “Now, children, please do not act like wild animals.” This plants a seed in Mr. Tiger’s mind, and a few pages later, he embraces a quadruped stance. The spread following this wordless one makes great use of the gutter, positioning aghast townsfolk on the verso as Mr. Tiger proudly marches off the recto on all fours. This is just the beginning of his adoption of wild ways, however: He sheds his clothing, runs away to the wilderness, roars and generally runs amok. But, much like that other Wild Thing, Max, Mr. Tiger comes to miss his friends, his city and his home, and so he returns to find “that things were beginning to change.” Ensuing pages show animals in various states of (un)dress, sometimes on all fours, sometimes on two feet, cavorting about in colorful settings, and (to paraphrase the closing lines) all feeling free to be themselves.
Hooray for Mr. Tiger and his wild ways! (Picture book. 3-7)