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The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
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The Tiger Who Came to Tea: 05/25/12

cover art

The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr was published in 1968 and was recently turned into a stage play in London. Children's books as theater seems to be having a renaissance of sorts. My inner child is feeling miffed at missing the show.

A mother and daughter sit down to tea (a most wonderful excuse for a mid afternoon snack) when the doorbell unexpectedly rings. The daughter asks who it could be but all the mother can say is that it won't be daddy because he has a key. Upon opening the door they are greeted by a tiger.

When faced with a hungry tiger at the door, there are only two things you can do: slam the door and hide, or invite him in and hope for the best. They invite him in. Although polite (in that he doesn't eat them), the tiger is ravenous. He eats and drinks them out of house and home, including drinking all the water out the tap!

The parents' matter-of-fact reaction to the absurdities of a talking tiger coming to tea and devouring everything is priceless. Their deadpan solutions: go out to a cafe for dinner and buy a giant tin of tiger food is just the perfect solution to a silly book.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr is for me, a forgotten childhood favorite. The glee of sitting down with my grandfather as he read it to me had slipped my memory until I had to catalog a copy.

When I was a child I had a toy tiger I took everywhere. I used to imagine that he would under very special circumstances come to life as a man-sized (sort of like Tony the Tiger but cooler) talking tiger. He'd take me to school and make the cool kid. You can imagine then how The Tiger Who Came to Tea played into that fantasy a bit.

Five stars.

Comments (4)

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Comment #1: Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 13:56:13


Sarah, I am looking for a book recommendation, and you are the person I thought of first for guidance.

A child care friend has a 4 year old boy and a 2 year old girl. They are moving in July and leaving her care. She would like to give them a book that lets them know how much she loves them and talks about being far away from those you love. Would you have any suggestions for her? I'm not sure they really have to be at their exact level, because I'm sure the parent's will read it to them. I know she would appreciate any ideas. I'm not that current on children's lit, so I wasn't much help...any help.

Comment #2: Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 17:01:35


Two books come to mind. The first one is There's No Such Thing as Far Away by Richard Bach but it might be a little too old for them. The other one is I Miss You Every Day by Simms Taback. The story is about a child wishing she could wrap herself up in a box and mail herself to a friend she's missing. If neither of these are what you're looking for, let me know and I'll think of some other titles.

Comment #3: Saturday, May, 26, 2012 at 20:25:34


Those sound exactly right, especially the second one. I'll pass them along. Thank you so much!

Comment #4: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 09:35:02


I'm happy I could help.

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