Kids Book Review: The Tiger Who Came To Tea, by Judith Kerr

tigerJudith Kerr is one of my favourite children’s authors although she seems to be little known in the United States.  Perhaps her most famous work is one I have actually never read: When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, a semi-autobiographical book about Kerr’s family’s flight from Germany to escape Nazi persecution.  I am familiar with her picture books, including When Willy Went To The Wedding, a lovely story about how it is NOT Willie’s fault his cats, dog, hamster, frog, and even eventually goldfish wreak havoc at his sister’s wedding.  The Mog books about Mog the cat are also good, our favourite here being Mog and Bunny.  But of all her stories my personal favourite as a child, and now as a Mum is The Tiger Who Came to Tea.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea tells the story of what happens when Sofie answers a knock at the door to find a very large, very well spoken Tiger who says, “Excuse me, but I’m very hungry, do you think I could have tea with you?”  Naturally Sofie’s Mum knows the polite thing to do is invite him in.  Children will love listening and looking at the colourful pictures as Tiger systematically works his way through the tea things and then into the kitchen eating in big mouthfuls “OWP!”  All of Kerr’s stories are gentle and warmhearted without being dull and this one is no exception.

What has struck me in the years since I began to read this story, not as a child but as a Mummy like Sofie’s , is that this is also a story for us.  It is a story of how at the end of the day you can look around, find that everything is a mess, the children haven’t had their bath, and think “I’ve got nothing for Daddy’s supper.” Sometimes it feels like a Tiger didn’t just drop by, he moved in!  It’s the story of how there can always be a perfectly good excuse to put on your coats and go out to a café for dinner.  Now when Daddy comes home from a long day’s work to find no dinner, we tell him the Tiger came to tea today.  He understands.

(Gussie says: look out for the Tiger on the way to the café.  He is in disguise)

All pictures and quotes from: Judith Kerr.The Tiger Who Came To Tea. Humen, Dongguan, China: Candlewick Press, 2009.

Available in various formats on Amazon.


Filed under Literature, Motherhood

7 Things My Husband Hates About Lists That Will Totally Blow Your Mind (Number five really surprised me!)

Here is a picture of Cranky Captain Mike.

mikecranky (this cracks me up.  I said “make that face you make when someone is stupid?” Nailed it.)

He is prematurely a crusty old man who likes to complain about those young people and their hippity hop and their skinny jeans and why don’t they cut their hair and stop moping around the mall and GET A JOB?!  He won’t use facebook.  He is a curmudgeon.  And here is his quick take on the proliferation of Lists on the internet.

1)Why is it always a random number? It’s never 10, or even 5.  It’s a seemingly random number of things but they still give you the number of things in the list like it actually has some kind of significance.  It’s not actually random or arbritrary, however.  It’s carefully crafted to be AT LEAST an unusual number, if not a prime number.  Extra points for prime numbers, apparently.

2)Have you noticed it’s not really a list it’s an article with a whole bunch of paragraphs, just like any other article, with a bunch of semi related points on some topic, just like any other article. But noooo they had to make it a list. I mean seriously look at these.  A list would just be a quick phrase but they go on and on expanding on their points and bringing up examples and back up points.  That’s not a list anymore.  This one time I read a list article and there were only like 5 things on it.  Only not 5 because 5 would be too normal a number.  So it was probably 3 because seriously, what is the point of a list that’s only 3 things long still being a list?  Don’t they teach you in grade school that you can put three related points into a paragraph? And yet each thing on the list was two or three paragraphs of content.  Guys that’s NOT A LIST it’s a thesis or something.  It’s STUPID!

3)At least one of the points on the list is just a reiteration of an earlier point on the list with a slightly different spin or wording but they pretend it’s a brand new separate bullet. Come on the numbers don’t mean anything anyways and you’re allowed to cram as much into one number as you want so why drag it out and make a completely redundant point on your list?

4)I kind of just hate them because they are everywhere too. Nothing can just be a not list anymore.  It’s trendy. Everything’s gotta be a list. Like people write something and then they think, oh crap, nobody will read this if I don’t make it in list form.  So they just add numbers at the front of their paragraphs.

5)There’s always a tag line about how number something or other is going to blow your mind. And you get to number whatever and it’s really no big deal.  I mean it might be an interesting thought but it’s not any better than any OTHER thought on the list.  That was just there to trick you except that we’ve all seen it one million times so who’s really falling for this anymore anyway?

6)I literally just now went to ONE site on the internet that has a collection of “lists” (hipster for article), and here are the titles:

  • 60 Energy Drinks To Try In A Time Of Desperation (Really guys, you could only think of 60?  One more and you get a prime number!  Weak.)
  • 17 (Maybe) True Facts About “Mad Max: Fury Road” (If they’re “Maybe” true, then you can make up whatever number you want, right? So why 17?  See point one.)
  • 21 Times Schmidt From New Girl Perfectly Explained What It’s Like To Get In Shape (I’ve seen every episode of New Girl; it’s a fun show.  Schmidt does this every episode, so obviously they’ve only watched part of one season, and decided to stop at 21 because it’s…not round.)
  • 23 Alien Landscapes You Can Visit Right Here On Earth (I got nothing.  Who reads this crap?  Also a prime number.  I bet either some pretty cool places got dropped or some totally lame places got added to make it a prime number that’s different from the other numbered lists on the site.)

7) This is [deleted]. Point six on this “List” isn’t even a point, and this is only in here to make it a prime number.  Also (this could be another point but then I’d have 8 and that would never do), when the “list” gets regurgitated on other websites they will either add or delete some points to make the list a different number to pretend it’s original while still keeping it seemingly random.  For example, I just searched “alien landscapes” in google and got another article with only 9 places on it.  The pictures were the same…I rest my case.

Now here are pictures of him being his super top secret sap self.

 mikesappy mikesappy2

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Filed under Rants