Arthur and the tiger by Sophie Beer
Puffin books, 2019. ISBN: 9780143791836.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Tigers, Circuses, Fear. Arthur's Circus is going along well, a bright contrast to the grey smoggy city on the hill in the distance. He has a trapeze artist who can soar like an eagle, a strongman who can lift a car with one finger, jugglers who can breathe fire like the best of dragons, but Arthur's son can do no tricks at all. Arthur the ringmaster tries lots of things with his son, but each time he fails; all he wants to do is have a picnic and a nice cup of tea. But one day his father announces that there will be an addition to the circus: a tiger. And the one to tame the tiger will be Arthur.
Everyone is terrified: the strongman shivers, the juggler is jittery, the acrobat falls into her net, and the townspeople are just as unhappy with a ferocious tiger about to arrive. But no one is as scared as Arthur as he shivers in his bed, the bedclothes held over his head. When the fearful day arrives and the animal is let out of its tightly locked cage, it takes one look at Arthur's friend, the mouse, and runs to hide. Arthur reassures him that all is well and the two become friends, Arthur able to teach the tiger some tricks which they perform, and after an evening's performance can sit down with a picnic and a nice cup of tea.
A delightful story of friendship, of facing one's fears, of working together to find an amicable solution will have children laughing out loud as the tiger is more afraid of Arthur and his friends than they are of the tiger.
The wonderfully playful illustrations convey the fun of the circus on every page with blocks of big bold colour. Each page plays with shape and texture, style and colour, and is exciting to look at and ponder as the antics of each of the circus performers are shown.
Arthur's face is ever changing as he faces the challenge of taming the tiger, relieved that the tiger is more scared than he.