Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

I just brought home Mr. Tiger Goes Wild from the library. This is our second time checking out this book. My girls love when I read it to them, and I have a particular love for it as well. I do think that when this book is released in paperback, we will be picking up our own copy.

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild is a picture book written and illustrated by Peter Brown. The titular Mr. Tiger lives in a drab city that would make Charles Dickens depressed. Everything in the city is grey, and all of the anthropomorphic animals are very proper. In one picture, we even see a horse scolding little animals by telling them not to act like wild animals!

In a rather poignant scene, there is a series of row houses. They are identical, and Mr. Tiger can be seen gazing out of the window of one of the houses, and looking glum.

One day, Mr. Tiger decides to walk on all fours. This creates a scandal, but when Mr. Tiger climbs into the fountain, and takes off his suit… things really get wild!

Now, I’ll break in here to discuss the naked tiger. It might sound a little risqué, but given that Mr. Tiger is a real tiger, and that tigers do not normally wear clothing, it’s only natural for him to shed his clothing.

Well, his proper neighbors tell him that if he wants to be wild, then he should go to the wilderness, and Mr. Tiger is happy to oblige. At first, he is happy as a clam in his Elysian paradise, but then he gets lonely. He creeps back towards the city, but will his friends accept him for who he is? Needless to say, Mr. Tiger learns an important lesson about moderation, and his friends may have learned a lesson from him!

The illustrations are just delightful. Mr. Tiger can be seen looking bored and sad, and the picture of the city full of identical houses makes me think of the popular folk song Little Boxes. Mr. Tiger is just wasting away, as he goes through the motions of social relations. His demeanor changes so much as he walks on all fours. He is happy and cheerful instead of sullen. Peter Brown’s use of color is also fascinating: everything in the town is grey, except for Mr. Tiger. Even when he speaks, his text box is orange. This is an interesting contrast to his friends and neighbors, who look dull and behave in a dull and predictable way.

My girls were very happy to see Mr. Tiger again, and I have a feeling that we will be reading it quite a bit for the next few weeks!  If you’re interested in getting your own copy, you can pick it up here:

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

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