Thursday, May 24, 2018

Tiger Days and the secret cat by Sarah Lean, illustrated by Anna Currey

I've been looking for this beginning chapter book, by an author whom several of my library patrons enjoy, for quite a while. Sarah Lean writes stories with animals that have a gently magical tinge and I was wondering how she would handle a beginning chapter series.

The story begins with Tiger Days, a little girl who loves tigers. She thinks often about her Grandma Days, who runs an animal sanctuary in Africa. When Grandma Days returns to England and purchases a big, run-down house, Tiger is both excited and scared to stay with her for several weeks. After she sees the house, she's more scared than excited. The plumbing doesn't work, there are scary noises, and her grandmother has brought in a baby animal to take care of. But it's not a cute baby animal - it's a warthog!

With the help of her grandmother and the boy next door, Tiger finds her courage and not only helps out at the house and with the baby warthog, she makes friends with a stray cat as well. Her newfound bravery is tested when she and Tom investigate a scary legend, the Staring Oat.

Black and white line illustrations, included a map at the beginning, add flavor to this sweet beginning chapter book. It's quintessentially British, with a lot of vocabulary that is likely to confuse young American readers. I was also very puzzled by Tiger's name. Is it a nickname? It doesn't sound like it. I've never heard of someone naming their child "Tiger" it just sounds so weird!

Verdict: If you have a lot of British fans, say of Holly Webb or Sarah Lean, it might be worth the extra trouble to pick up this series. Otherwise, it's just another sweet animal series.

ISBN: 9780008245023; This edition published 2016 by HarperCollins; Borrowed via inter-library loan

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