Tiger and Cat by Allira Tee

cover image

Berbay Publishing, 2020. ISBN: 9780648529156.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Allira Tee is an illustrator and author based in Melbourne. She loves animals and people watching and discovering the uncanny behavioural similarities between the two. Inspired by nature, Tiger and Cat is her debut picture book.
And we can see her observations of friendship, of being true to yourself and similarities between animals and people reflected in this book as Tiger goes off to boot camp to learn how to be a proper tiger.
He and Cat are the best of friends: they do everything together: play, eat, explore and dance. But Tiger is sent off to camp where he is expected to do different things. While Cat stays home, trying to do the things they have always done together. Everywhere Cat goes he sees Tiger, but the people he sees are not Tiger, until he comes across a young girl in a tiger onesie. Cat tells Susie all about Tiger, and being six years old, Susie knows exactly what to do. And a letter is sent, and Tiger comes home to his friends.
Allira creates her highly original illustrations by hand using ink or graphite and finished with coloured markers, pencils, watercolour or digital techniques.
This neatly evolved story of friendship and being yourself will be appealing to younger readers beset by instructions of how to act and suppressing your own behaviour to fit in. Themes: Cats, Tigers, Friendship, Belonging.
Fran Knight