I have become a huge fan of Peter Brown since having kids, and Mr. Tiger Goes Wild has fast become a favorite. In this fun story, Mr. Tiger is bored with his life because he is always made to act proper. So what does he do? He begins to bend the rules, little by little- first by walking on all fours, then by roaring loudly, and then by taking off his suit and jacket (which is guaranteed to get some glorious giggles out of your kids!) Mr. Tiger’s family and friends are not thrilled with his behavior and tell him he would be better served in the wilderness, so off he goes. He runs wild and free in the woods, but eventually, after a perfectly placed wordless spread, Mr. Tiger gets lonesome and returns home. Upon his return, he finds that some things in his neighborhood have changed — all because of his actions — for the better.
There is so much to love about this story. First, the illustrations beautifully enhance the text, and l love how the brightness of Mr. Tiger’s orange fur is juxtaposed with the drab grays and browns of the more “civilized” society. (If you get your hands on this, be sure to also check out the difference in color of the end papers at the beginning and end of the book!) Second, the story is brilliantly paced, and I love the way Brown uses wordless spreads to both further the narrative and heighten the tension. These spreads elicit both glee and sensitivity, particularly the center spread of our beloved naked protagonist, as well as the spread depicting an almost reflective Mr. Tiger which foreshadows his return home despite his fun and freedom in the wilderness. Third, this story reminds our kids how important it is to remain true to themselves, to stand up for what they believe in, and, when necessary, to go against the grain.
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Most importantly, however, this story so perfectly explores that tenuous line between two important yet contradictory childhood desires: the desire for structure and the desire (and – gasp!) the need to be wild and roam free. Kids crave both of these constructs — and this book beautifully illustrates that the two are not mutually exclusive. When the wild romp is over, there truly is no place like home.
Want the book? Get it here! Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, by Peter Brown. *This is an affiliate link.