Cat Tiger” is a humorous picture book by Jean Leroy and illustrated by Bérengére Delaporte. The story is about a small yellow tabby cat named Stripes.
Or rather, a small yellow tabby cat who longs to be a giant, fierce, hunting tiger frightening all around him. The illustrations are wonderfully rendered and wonderfully humorous. For example, the double page showing the text, “He doesn’t concern himself with chasing after mice anymore,” is illustrated with mice playing volleyball in the yard and sunning, while on the facing page the text reads, “He prefers larger prey instead.” That illustration is of a large (quite unhappy) dog with scratch marks on his backside holding a small (quite unhappy) cat, frustrated at not being about to “down” his prey.
Finally, when Stripes “hunts down” the chicken leg his owner is eating, the owner decides to fix the matter. He decides to take Stripes to the zoo to see a real tiger.
The outcome will have young readers laughing over its absurdity, but it’s charming and sweet. One of the lovely messages that can be discussed from this superb little picture book is that appearances can be deceiving. While Stripes may look like a sweet little tabby cat, he has the heart of a tiger. And while the tiger at the zoo looks ferocious, well, no spoilers here!
Children as young as three will enjoy this story, and children as old as eight will enjoy discussing the themes in this clever book.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Peter Pauper Press, Inc., for review purposes.