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.)

Don’t Wake Up The Tiger (Britta Teckentrup)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Don’t Wake Up The Tiger by Britta Teckentrup, a delightful interactive story of a sleepy tiger and some sneaky animals.

Frog, Fox, Tortoise, Mouse, and Stork have somewhere to be with their giant bunch of balloons, but there is a big, stripey problem: Tiger has fallen asleep right in their path! They have to get around her without waking her up, but how? Frog comes up with a clever plan: they can use the balloons to, one by one, float up over the sleeping Tiger. But there are a few mishaps, and each time there is, they need the reader’s help to get them across while keeping the big cat dozing as well. But Tiger has to wake up eventually and when she does, there’s a big surprise in store…

So much fun! When interactive storybooks are done well, they are such a wonderful experience to share with baby bookworms, and we had a blast with this one. The adorable illustrations are colorful and cleverly oversized, giving a sense of scale and depth that help the animals and interactions to feel real. The interactive elements are fantastic, simple enough for the very young to understand yet fun and silly enough that it will keep them entertained. And the charming twist at the end gave us a big smile. The length was perfect for a quick read, and JJ went absolutely wild for it. This is an engaging, entertaining interactive story for big and little readers to share, and we definitely recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

Cinnamon (Neil Gaiman)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Cinnamon, written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Divya Srinivasan, a dark, mysterious, and marvelous fable, written in 1995 by Gaiman and previously only available in audiobook form.

Cinnamon is a beautiful princess who lives with her mother and father, the Rajah and Rani, in a land where everything is very old. Cinnamon has eyes made of pearl, which are very beautiful but cannot see, and she doesn’t seem to be able to speak a single word. The Rajah offers a room at the palace, a field of mango trees, a beautiful painting and an emerald parrot to anyone who can teach the princess to speak, but so far the few who have tried have failed. That is, until the day a fearsome talking tiger emerges from the forest and offers his expertise. Cinnamon’s family, especially her cynical great-aunt, are unsure, but let’s face it: there isn’t much a tiger can’t do when he sets his mind to it, a few that can stop him. Will the mysterious tiger be the one to teach Cinnamon to speak? And if he does… what will she have to say?

This one was wonderful, beautiful, thought-provoking and strange – everything that you would expect from the writing of Neil Gaiman. The text is a joy to read, filled with sly humor, evocative language and fantastical themes. Srinivasan’s Indian folk art-inspired illustrations shine here, capturing the color-rich environments and characters in bold and dramatic yet understated art. There are a few things to note: the length makes this one better for slightly older bookworms, as even JJ began to wiggle by the end, and there are some decidedly darker moments, including a none-to-subtle and barely-offstage death. But for fans of Gaiman’s signature macabre humor and Srinivasan’s strikingly beautiful illustrated art, this is a treasure of a fairytale. Baby Bookworm approved!

Stripes The Tiger (Jean Leroy & Bérengère Delaporte)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is Stripes The Tiger by Jean Leroy and Bérengère Delaporte, an amusing story about the odd personalities of cats both big and small.

Stripes is the fiercest hunter in the jungle – at least, he’d like to be. The truth is, he’s an ordinary house cat, but he has dreams of being a fearsome tiger. Not content to let his dreams be dreams, he causes havoc around his owner’s home: clawing the couch, attacking the dog, and destroying the kitchen. His owner reaches the breaking point, and packs Stripes into a crate to take him to the zoo, convinced that seeing a real tiger will cure Stripes of his delusions of grandeur. But little does he know that Stripes is excited to meet his idol, and Mr. Tiger has dreams of his own… 

This was a very cute, very funny story with a wonderful twist ending that made me grin. It captured the capricious nature of felines, be they housecats or big cats, and the resolution was unexpected yet satisfying. The illustrations are fun, and have some wonderful visual gags that match the humorous story. The length is perfect, and we definitely enjoyed this one! Baby Bookworm approved!