The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

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The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: If your budget for picture books is limited and you're not sure which ones are for buying and which are for borrowing, look no further. The Tiger Who Came To Tea is one for buying. Children love it. It's simple, strong and rhythmic. It might be a tad dated, but it's one for the bookshelf, not the library ticket.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: August 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
ISBN: 978 000752429

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We've just seen the gorgeous celebration of Judith Kerr's most famous books and we couldn't resist having another look at one of our favourite stories.

Shall I tell you a story? Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then let's begin...

Sophie is a little girl just about to sit down to tea with her mother when there is a knock at the door. They wonder who on earth it could be. Is it the milkman? No, he's been. Is it the delivery boy? No, he's been too. Is it Daddy? No, it's too early. Sophie opens the door. My word! It's a tiger, and he's angling for an invitation to join them for tea. Of course, Sophie's mum takes it in her stride. In comes the tiger. Sophie thinks he's great. This tiger is gorgeous. Even I think so. He's got a lovely, long, curving tail that wraps itself around the table leg, the chair or Sophie's shoulder. He's friendly. But he's greedy too. He eats all the sandwiches. He eats all the buns. He eats all the cakes. He drinks all the milk, tea and juice. Things are beginning to get rather worrying.

And that naughty tiger doesn't stop there. He eats Daddy's tea too; right from the saucepans on the stove. He eats all the food in the cupboards and downs all the milk from the bottles. He drinks all the water from the tap. When everything that can be eaten has gone, he leaves. Just like that. But he does say "thank you for the lovely tea", so I suppose he's a polite tiger at least. Sophie and her mother are worried. Sophie can't have a bath - the water's all gone. I'll tell you a secret - I love this part of the story and so do all the many children to whom told it, not least my own. We're not quite sure what to think. No water in the tap at all? Could a tiger really do that? Equally worrying for Sophie and Mummy is that there is no supper for Daddy, either. What shall they do? Just then, Daddy comes in. Sophie and her mother tell him all about it. "Never mind," he says, "we'll go out for dinner." And they do, it's late and, "all the street lamps were lit, and all the cars had their lights on, and they walked down the road to a cafe". Oh, it was magic for Sophie, being out past bedtime with her mother and father, all thanks to her visiting tiger. They have supper and Sophie gets ice cream too. In the morning Sophie and her mother go shopping to replace all the food that the greedy tiger ate and they don't forget to buy a LARGE tin of tiger food in case he should ever call again..... "but he never did".

This wonderful picture book, The Tiger Who Came To Tea, comes highly recommended by all at Bookbag Towers. It's a wee book; it'll only take you ten minutes or so to read. But, like all the best picture books for young children; the meanings, ideas and references are condensed. There is a lot to talk about. It's beautifully illustrated too. Children love animals. They love animals even more when a book permits them to intrude into the human world, especially when it's in a humorous way, even more especially if the animal is naughty and gets one over on the adults and even more especially still if the adults are also the parents. However, although the tiger is naughty, and although he causes Sophie's mother some problems, it all ends happily. Sophie loves the tiger because he's shown her that her parents are to be relied upon and that they will solve her problems for her. Still better his naughtiness brought her a late night, a trip out and some ice cream. What more could she ask? The purchase of a large tin of tiger food in case the tiger should return is a bit like tapping the back of wardrobes in search of Narnia I think. What a shame "he never did".

Judith Kerr wrote and illustrated The Tiger Who Came To Tea. She has that perfect knack of writing in a way that is easy to read aloud. The words are simple, yet strong and rhythmic and the dialogue flows. She makes it marvellously easy for you and wonderfully funny for them. Yes, The Tiger Who Came To Tea is old-fashioned and woefully politically incorrect; it was written thirty years ago. Yes, it is full of anachronisms - who has a milkman these days, let alone a grocer's delivery boy? Whose mother bakes buns for tea? Cafes? Surely it should be Happy Meals under McDonald's Golden Arches (ugh). Daddy saves the day, not Mummy. But it really doesn't matter. It's a fantasy and your children will recognise it as such. And as a fantasy it's timeless.

You'll also love The Crocodile Under the Bed by Judith Kerr.

For another fantasy picture book for the little ones, try our review of Here Come The Aliens, by Colin McNaughton.

Booklists.jpg The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr is in the Top Ten Timeless Picture Books To Treasure Forever.

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Buy The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr at


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zarahuxley said:

It is a wonderfully delightful picture book which many ages would enjoy. If you close the book at the page when daddy gets home your children will be tempted to know what happens. I hope this comment may be benefitial.