Tiger & Cat (Allira Tee, Berbay)
In this appealing debut picture book from Melbourne illustrator Allira Tee, two animals recognise the value of their close friendship. Tiger and Cat do everything together—exploring, dancing, eating delicious pink cakes—that is, until Tiger heads off to tiger camp to earn his stripes. Tiger’s absence is difficult for both friends, and their eventual happy reunion is facilitated by the sage advice and assistance of a helpful young girl—plus a dash of magic. Tee’s minimalist illustrations are inviting, her use of soft colours imbuing the story with a sense of nostalgia. Children will enjoy the spattering of cute visual surprises, such as a woodland creature peering into a playground and a cat face affixed to the moon. Friendship can be a confronting concept for toddlers and preschoolers to grapple with as their social and emotional landscapes become more complex, and this picture book might aid them in navigating this period. This sweet story is also suitable for sensitive children. The narrative gently demonstrates the importance of putting words to your feelings and affirms that a true friend will like you for who you are—even if you don’t have ‘real’ stripes.
Bronte Coates is the digital content coordinator and prizes manager at Readings