Children’s Hour: The Tiger Who Came to Tea

Children’s Hour is a new feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

I had my reservations about taking The Tiger Who came to Tea to work. It’s a book I loved as a child but it is a little old fashioned now and I wasn’t sure if your kids would really connect with it. Happily my fears were unfounded. I still can’t say it’s one of the kid’s new favourites, bit it is the first one I’ve taken in which any of them has requested again without seeing it first. I don’t think they really get the whole it can’t be the milkman (or the grocer’s boy) bit, but most of it still pretty much applies. Really the wonder of the book is the idea of a tiger turning up on your doorstep, and not eating you but eating all the food in your house! The kids get very excited when the tiger arrives. One even shouts everytime Mummy asks “Who could that be?” “It’s a tiger, it’s a tiger!” until we discover that, yes, it is a tiger. The pictures are beautiful, it’s quite amazing how a a tiger can look so friendly.

As an adult I find it funny how the tiger is so smiley, and seemingly very polite, but his actions of eating all the food and drinking all the drink in the house (even drinking all the water out the tap!) really are rather impolite.

When my sister read The Tiger Who Came to Tea to my niece she said she didn’t like it so much. She said it seemed a bit anti-feminist, because Mummy had no idea what to do when the tiger had eaten all the food, so she had nothing for Daddy’s supper, then of course Daddy saved the day by taking them out to a cafe. In a way I guess my sister is right, but I can’t help loving The Tiger Who Came to Tea anyway.

Buy The Tiger Who Came to Tea:

Paperback (£2.99)

Board Book (£4.09)

Kindle (£4.99)


Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

7 responses to “Children’s Hour: The Tiger Who Came to Tea

  1. Toots

    Yes, it reflects a bygone era, when mums stayed at home and made cherry cakes while dads went off bread-winning. But I suppose you could say that the dad is as much trapped by the era as mum is, coming home tired every day in his overcoat!
    I heard an interview with Judith Kerr on the radio. Her family had to escape Germany at the beginning of the war as her father was an anti Nazi journalist and was at the top of Hitler’s hit list. She wrote a book about it called ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’ (I think that’s the title). It’s hard to imagine her writing about a cosy little English family in the tiger book! Perhaps it was an antidote to the horrors of war.
    I love the ‘Tiger Who Came to Tea’. I imagine Sophie’s mum telling her, “What shall we do about tea, now the tiger has taken it all?” in the way that adults ask children questions just for the sake of it. My theory is that she had already made her mind up that they would all go down the road to the cafe and have sausages and chips! Mind you, I’d have to look at the book again to check it against my theory.
    I wonder what Sophie did when she grew up?


  2. I would say I wish I could stay home all day and bake cakes and look after kids…but then my job almost is that, with more paperwork, and more children! I must admit I’d prefer it to Dad’s role, but maybe that’s me.

    I’ve read When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, and one of the sequels (I think it’s called A Small Person Far Away). I don’t remember much about it though, just that I liked it at the time (this was a good, what, 15? years ago). It was around about the same time I read Carrie’s War, and I think The Shouting Wind came a little after, I was going through a bit of a WW2 phase.

    She is better known for her young children’s books though, Mog is the other famous one I think. When I was looking at her amazon page I saw she’d written one about her husband too, a children’s book, I might be quite interested to read that one. (Actually I thought about showing it to Dad for his clients).

    I like your theory, it’s never how I saw it, but there you go. I suppose Mum’s get their own back on the bus though (“The Daddy’s on the bus say DON’T DO THAT…”).

    Maybe Sophie was a tiger tamer when she grew up. The tiger in their house seemed very tame!


  3. Pingback: Read of the month….Alfie and the Big Boys by Shirley Hughes | madewithlovekids Blog

  4. Pingback: Bookish Gifts | Lucybird's Book Blog

  5. Reblogged this on kipmcgrathashford and commented:
    This has been a huge favourite of both our children, first Hannah and then Alex. Very old-fashioned but reassuringly so. We love the idea of having Tiger Food in the cupboard in case of future visits!


  6. Pingback: Children’s Hour: Our Favourite Books | Lucybird's Book Blog

  7. Reblogged this on Lucybird's Book Blog and commented:

    In memory of Judith Kerr, who died today I thought I would repost this Children’s Hour post.

    Judith Kerr was also one of the writers who introduced me to books about war (which are a genre I like to read) through ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’. She is certainly a loss to the world of literature.

    Prices in the following post were correct for the original post and may now be changed.


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