The Secret Life of a Tiger

by | May 4, 2019 | Book Review, Fiction, Picture Book

Book Details

The Secret Life of a Tiger
Przemystaw Wechterowicz, Illus. Emilia Dziubak, London: Quarto, pb, 978 1 9102 7781 2, 2018, £6.99, 32pp.
Picture book, fiction, 3-5 years

Tiger claims to have an unexpected night-time personality.
In this tale, Tiger seeks to convince us that what we may know of his behaviour is not the whole truth.

He does admit to occasionally biting other animals (and a passing explorer), but claims that he usually swallows his prey whole (not supported by zoological observation, of course). He is sure that what he gets up to at night will really surprise us. Among other unlikely diversions, he dances with tapirs, helpfully returns some parrot eggs to their nest and then sits on them, and produces some outré Lady Gaga hairstyles for the orangutans. This is pleasantly illustrated by Dziubak, although she doesn’t take full advantage of the tiger’s claimed dual personality or the surreal absurdity of his nocturnal escapades. The publisher’s puff on the jacket claims that the tale teaches us that “even fearsome creatures have a softer side”. However, the tone of Wechterowicz’s text (in a rather prosy translation) is more ambiguous. Tiger may look cuddly but why should we believe any of his unlikely claims?

Clive Barnes.