There’s a Tiger in the Garden

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There’s a Tiger in the Garden
Lizzy Stewart
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
What would your reaction be if somebody told you there was a tiger in the garden? Dismissive – pretty much the same as young Nora’s, I expect.
When Nora complains of boredom on a visit to her Grandma’s house, her Gran. suggests she go and play in the garden: “I thought I saw a tiger there earlier.” she tells her … “And dragonflies the size of birds and plants that can …” Reluctantly, accompanied by her pal Jeff the Giraffe, off goes Nora outside muttering to herself when Whoosh! something whizzes right past her nose …

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Slightly impressed by what she discovers but still dismissive of the whole nonsensical suggestion of cannibalistic plants, polar bears and tigers, our young heroine urges Jeff to go home but seemingly one of the plants has designs on a Jeff snack …

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Having duly rescued Jeff, Nora remains unconvinced about the polar bear and tiger until that is, she hears a rather gruff voice and sees …

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Nora’s grumpiness is by now almost equal to the polar bear’s (she’s had to accept him too of course) as she asserts “there is absolutely, definitely one hundred per cent no …

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That is only a part of this terrific tale; for the rest you’ll need to get hold of a copy of your own: it’s a delight from cover to cover. The dialogue is absolutely spot on: “Um … Tigers don’t live in gardens,” says Nora. “Are you real?” “I don’t know,” says the tiger. “Are you?” …

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I have an idea,” says the tiger. ”If you believe in me, then maybe I’ll be real.” “And if you believe in me,” says Nora, “then maybe I’ll be real too!” … helping to make this a wonderful read aloud. And, it’s also a great book for those teachers who use ‘Community of Enquiry’ approaches in their primary classrooms.
I love the way the lush vegetation of Grandma’s garden takes on an increasingly jungly appearance the more Nora forays among the plants – seemingly Nora’s imagination is taking over despite her scepticism; and the animals in those gorgeous paintings would surely convince the most ardent of disbelievers. Oh! And there’s a delicious final twist in the tale too.
With a debut picture book as good as this one, I can’t wait to see what Lizzy Stewart does next.

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