It’s Hard to Love a Tiger (Anna Pignataro, Scholastic)
Kittens and cats are so passé; how much more fun would it be to have a pet tiger instead? The cover—with its smiley little blonde girl trying to affix a matching pink ribbon onto an unimpressed tiger—sets the scene for writer and illustrator Anna Pignataro’s book. However, our protagonist soon finds out that having this large stripey friend brings a whole set of problems. Pignataro uses simple repetition (‘It’s hard to love a tiger…’) to illustrate some unusual situations one may face should one have a tiger as a pet, like how he has a propensity to roar like thunder down the street at everyone he meets, or to growl like a bear during teeth-brushing time, and even to gallop indelicately in an ill-fitting tutu during ballet classes. Yet, despite his terrible table manners, his snoring and assorted other faux pas (pouncing atop a bus!) the tiger is adored by everyone, and the closing line emphasises this sweet fact. The pictures are sketchy watercolours—soft-edged and a little blurry. The tiger, after all, is a friendly soul at heart; really he’s just a big pussy cat who likes to play. This is a cute picture book best for preschoolers.
Thuy On is a freelance arts journalist and reviewer, and the books editor of the Big Issue