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Mr. Tiger Goes Wild | Class #2, 2016

Mr TigerMr. Tiger's relationship with good manners — and his clothes — reflects a reality for lots of young children. They can try to be good for a while, but afterwards they just have to take a break and be themselves.

The urge to let it all hang out is an old literary tradition. Straight-laced Edwardian Beatrix Potter's characters had a tendency to shed their clothes, as did some of Maurice Sendak's (remember Mickey in the Night Kitchen?). Notice what happens when this book takes off its jacket.

Brown uses mixed media and digital coloring to achieve a somewhat old-timey effect. How does this book work for you? What do you notice about the pacing and other choices the author has made?

Lolly Robinson

Lolly Robinson is a freelance designer and consultant with degrees in studio art and children’s literature. She is the former creative director for The Horn Book, Inc., and has taught children’s literature at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. She has served on the Caldecott and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committees and blogged for Calling Caldecott and Lolly's Classroom on this site.


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Peter Brown

Hello class! Sorry this is late, I've had a busy week, but just wanted to chime in quickly and say how thrilled I am that Mr. Tiger Goes Wild resonated with you. A million little decisions go into telling a visual story and things can get surprisingly complicated when exploring anthropomorphism, like I did in this book. "Why don't the birds or fish speak?" is a question I sometimes get from kids. Throughout children's books and animation, storytellers have constantly faced this same funny situation, and most of the time we have to make some sort of distinction between the "people-like animals" and the "real animals." In this case, I decided only mammals would speak, essentially the story takes place in "mammal world," and so none of the birds or fish (or butterflies) can communicate with the mammals. This sometimes leaves kids scratching their heads, but I feel pretty confident in my decisions. Haha. One of you wondered why the tree leaves in the jungle were so perfectly shaped, which is a fair question. In early sketches the trees were more wild and organic, but the aesthetic I'd set up in the first half of the book was SO geometric and precise that wild, organic trees seemed out of place, even in the jungle. I had to maintain a certain amount of geometry and symmetry in the wilderness simply to keep the whole book looking consistent. So I had to find other ways of showing randomness in nature, like composition and placement and color and shape. Anyway, hope this makes sense! Thanks! Peter Brown!

Posted : Mar 31, 2016 10:10

Gabby Cohn

I agree with all of the comments in this thread. I loved reading this book by Peter Brown. The stylistic elements of this book are not only intriguing, but incredibly well thought out. The illustrations and words can reach a diverse audience. I could picture an elementary school teacher reading this book aloud to a diverse classroom. The emotions introduced in these pages range from feelings of isolation/loneliness to fear to happiness. Even though this book is great for the visual learner, an auditory learner would also benefit from listening to this book read aloud. The tone, expressions, and syntax come alive in a monumental way (with or without the pictures). However, like some other people have already mentioned, all of the artwork was brilliant. Like Tom Grasso noted, I also liked the way Peter Brown "varied the amount of text and art on some sets of pages." One of my favorite parts of the book was also when Mr. Tiger jumped off the page, expressing, “What a magnificent idea!” Overall, this book will touch children (and even adults) in different ways. It encourages risk-taking, imagination, creativity, and dreaming. However, it also values themes like respect and appreciation of the world around us.

Posted : Mar 30, 2016 04:19

Kara Lawson

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild is a delightful book that could springboard discussions with children about things like community, expressing one’s identity, and how individuals influence change. The text is easy to read with typically just a line or two on each page, so as not to overwhelm young or struggling readers. Instead, rich details of the story are expressed within thoughtful illustrations. For example, all of the characters’ eyes are closed and faces expressionless (except for the children’s) until Mr. Tiger takes a risk and challenges the status quo, which sparks their sense of wonder and elicits a variety of feelings. Plus, energy moves across the page almost exclusively left to right except for a few instances in which Mr. Wild becomes wilder and wilder and then finally when his community begins to change, too, a subtle shift that helps to make Mr. Tiger’s brave story come alive for readers.

Posted : Mar 30, 2016 03:20

Andrew Bauld

In agreement with all the other commenters. What a wonderful book! I loved the subtlety of the illustrations. From the very beginning there is such an interesting shift from Mr. Tiger's initial expression of seeming disgust at all the sameness and order of the world around him, to the change of sadness as he looks out his building window. I also thought there was some really interesting juxtaposition between city life and the jungle, especially through Mr. Tiger's physical size. While in the city he is dwarfed by some of the bigger creatures and the tall buildings, there is a sense of loneliness and isolation, a feeling of being lost. But in the jungle, which is equally imposing in size, Mr. Tiger appears set to be part of a much bigger world, and the scope here gives the impression of adventure and exploration. I also just love animals dressed in Victorian garb.

Posted : Mar 29, 2016 09:15

Tom Grasso

Like the other people who have commented in this thread, I really loved reading this book for many of the same reasons: its universal theme, the contrast in colors (the artwork in general), the author's repositioning and resizing of text, the pace of the book, and how many different ways the book could be used in a classroom setting. I also appreciated the narrative arc of the story, which reminded me of Where the Wild Things Are, i.e., a character going outside of itself and then returning home. In terms of the overall design of the book, I really liked the way that Peter Brown varied the amount of text and art on some sets of pages. Some spreads were filled almost entirely with art having a lot of details, while others had a lot more white space and simpler illustrations, such as the page that consisted of Mr. Tiger jumping off the page, saying, "What a magnificent idea!" I think my favorite pages were the two on which Mr. Tiger comes up with his "very wild idea." The staircase effect of both the illustrations and the text made me feel as though I were descending into the wilderness with Mr. Tiger.

Posted : Mar 29, 2016 08:53

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