February 02, 2010
From a parent (or grandparent) perspective, the intentional theme of Tiger-Tiger is most worthy. For any of us raising youth, teaching children about comprehending and responding to feelings is certainly important. Katie's whimsical story and accompanying colorful illustrations, however, fall short in relaying this message simply to her 4-10 year-old audience.
Two early childhood educator friends I polled (one a youth librarian) offered a few points to consider. Much of the sentence structure is complex, ie., "how does it feel if you are not thinking the thought..., can you absolutely know?... and the "turnaround" (theory of changing the way you think and feel about something). This language is not appropriate to the brain development of most 4 and 5 year old children, possibly older depending on the child's individual level of understanding.
While I thought Wilhelms' drawings were bold and playful, my friends felt they were unoriginal and not a particularly good match to the story. They are both very familiar with his illustrations in children's literature.
I will read this book to my younger grandchildren (5-10 years of age) and really "test the waters" with it, because I do believe the message intended is a good one. The educators, on the other hand, told me they wouldn't buy or use "Tiger-Tiger Is It True?" with their classroom children.