Harley, Rex. Mary’s Tiger. Illustrated by Sue Porter. Book Review.

Click here to buy Harley, Rex. Mary’s Tiger

Little Mary draws a tiger whose head is too large. In order to fit him on the paper, she squishes his body. Then, because she doesn’t want him to seem unhappy, she draws a large smile and names him Grin. Members of her family try to guess why the tiger is smiling but fail. That evening, Grin climbs out of the page and onto her pillow. I think this is so he will have more room to move. In the morning she tells her mother the tiger has gone somewhere where he’s happy.

The beginning was sweet and intriguing, but I found the story unsatisfying, especially since the reason for the tiger’s smile was never explained. In the blurb, it is hinted that the tiger is smiling because he somehow knows he’s going to break free of the paper. I don’t think that will satisfy a child. Had the tiger gone off to the jungle, that might have been more gratifying. Or, if it had turned into a stuffed toy tiger that she could take to school.

The illustrations by Sue Porter, which seemed to be pen and watercolor, are quite charming, especially the ones of Mary painting.


Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages