As President Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Tigers are “sleek, silent, and totally terrifying. When a tiger prowled through the forest, everyone found other places to be.” This is a fine example of Leathers’ writing: low-key, with a soupçon of drollery. Tigers are terrifying, unless, that is, you happen to be the adorably un-sleek Little Tiger. His older, bigger brother chides him: “you’re too small and clumsy to scare anyone.” Well, if tigers can throw gauntlets, Little Tiger grasps it: “I can!” he insists. “And I’ll prove it.” Now, the best way for a little tiger to scare another animal is to catch it off guard. So Little Tiger tiptoes up to Boar, but: “I could hear you coming a mile away.” And for all his tiptoeing, he fails to scare an elephant or a tree full of monkeys (“The monkeys just kept laughing”). Though a frog lazing on a lily pad looks like a likely prospect, when Little Tiger reaches the water’s edge and lets out a roar, the only one who is scared is Little Tiger…of his own reflection. Well, that’ll do, bet won. Leathers’ watercolors are clean and sweet, create a delicate forest setting, and keep the “terrifying” to readers’ imaginations.
Nicely paced, comfortably told, and not altogether predictable: a winner. (Picture book. 3-5)