A Tiger Like Me (Michael Engler)

Hello, friends! Our book today is A Tiger Like Me, written by Michael Engler, illustrated by Joëlle Tourlonias, and translated by Laura Watkinson.

From the time the first rays of sunlight hit his eyes to the time he tucks in again for bed, a little tiger – who is actually a little boy in a collection of tiger costumes – is on the move. First, he greets the day with his fearsome roar, on to a nourishing breakfast (tiger-themed cereal, naturally), then he’s ready for a day of exploring, adventuring, causing mischief, and learning. He hides in a basket of laundry that substitutes for jungle brush – that is, until he gets stuck and calls for help from his tiger-mom and tiger-dad. Hunting hapless toys, frolicking in the snow, even cozying into his tiger-parents’ “den” for snuggles at day’s end, there’s nothing this little tiger can’t handle.

Adorable. Originally written in German, this playful look at a child’s imagination in their daily routine is a treat, both for the silly and sometimes naughty antics of the tiger-boy that will delight little bookworms, and the winks and nods at the familiar frustrations and rewards of parenting for caregivers (whose child DOESN’T go through a phase like the boy’s?). The text can be a little dense, yet flows beautifully, with a poetic rhythm that punches up the dynamic moments and soothes during the quieter ones. The illustrations rely a little heavily on muddled browns and greens, and can be a bit busy at times; however, in spreads like the young tiger waking up in a forest of his own imagining, or snuggling in bed with his tired yet devoted parents, it’s downright beautiful. Better for slightly older bookworms in terms of length, though JJ enjoyed it immensely throughout. Overall, a sweet treat for little pretenders everywhere – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Eleanor Wyatt, Princess And Pirate (Rachael MacFarlane)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Eleanor Wyatt, Princess And Pirate, written by Rachael MacFarlane and illustrated by Spencer Laudiero, a celebration of playing dress-up.

Eleanor Wyatt loves to pretend, often while dressing up from her seemingly limitless costume closet. And her play is never limited by traditional “gendered” costumes: as often as she chooses to be a princess or cheerleader, she easily switches to a pirate, astronaut, or superhero as the mood strikes her. Sometimes she will combine the characters, serving tea on her pirate ship or as a mustachioed cowboy riding a trusty unicorn steed (played ably by her enormous dog). Eleanor’s parents encourage her: there’s no “wrong” way to play. And in turn, Eleanor encourages her friends to join her in expressing themselves in whatever way feels right. After all, imagination is all about exploring new ways to be the person you were all along; to let your “inner light shine”.

Lovely! I am always delighted to see stories that encourage non-gendered playtime and dress-up, and this one was a delight. The story does a wonderful job of showing the benefits unrestricted play: Eleanor’s costumes help her build confidence and courage, such as dressing as a ninja to watch scary movies, and allow her to dream big as a rock star or pilot. And seeing her parade of friends – featuring a range of skin tones, genders, physical ability, and of course, costumes – shows that allowing freedom of expression creates a happier and more diverse world. The bouncy rhyming text is fun and easy to read, the illustrations are energetic and colorful, and the length is fine for younger bookworms. A charming tale with an important message, and we both loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)