There’s a Tiger in the Garden by Lizzy Stewart

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Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2016.

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Tigers by Judith Kerr (left) and Lizzy Stewart (right).

Nora is staying at her Grandma’s house and she’s bored. Her Grandma suggests that she play in the garden, adding that she thinks she saw a tiger in there earlier. Nora is sceptical and declares that she’s ‘too old for silly games!’

Nevertheless, Nora goes out into the garden. Before long, a dragonfly the size of a bird whizzes past. Nora and Jeff, her toy giraffe, run after it and are soon in dense jungle among a swarm of beautiful dragonflies. Jeff has a narrow escape from a toy-eating plant but Nora is still refusing to believe that there’ll be a tiger in the garden. The reader catches glimpses of the tiger before Nora does and then they come face to face, in a magnificent double-page close up. There follows a brief philosophical exchange about the nature of reality before talk of breakfast and trampolines. Nora and Jeff ride home on the tiger’s back, making plans to meet again. After dinner, it’s bath time where another surprise awaits…

I love Lizzy Stewart’s illustrations. There’s texture and depth to the images and I really liked being able to see the brush strokes. She has used a clever collage effect for the dragonflies’ wings and they look fabulous! There’s a wonderful lushness to the garden and so much glorious detail. I was reminded of Rousseau’s jungle paintings. The tiger is the friendly, cuddly kind and there’s definitely a nod to Judith Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came to Tea.

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Rousseau’s jungles (left) and Lizzy Stewart’s garden (right).

The hardback edition is beautiful. The embossed cover has a lovely tactile finish and the book is printed on really good quality paper, making it a pleasure to handle.

This is a super book about never being too old for imagination and make-believe.

Rating: 💙💙💙💙💙

Suitable for children aged 2+

Thank you to Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for sending me this book to review and to Toppsta for organising the giveaway.

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