Skip to main content

Tiger and Badger by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Mary Louise Gay

Tiger and Badger, written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Mary Louise Gay, perfectly, powerfully presents (in both words and pictures) the intense emotional highs and lows of toddlerhood and friendship in a way I haven't seen before in a picture book. Best of all, there are no adults to stop Tiger and Badger from experiencing these highs and lows and learning to work through them on their own.

Tiger and Badger are best friends, enthusiastically so. This enthusiasm can swing from love to hate without much to tip the scales. When Tiger sits in Badger's chair and eats two of her orange slices, they manage to work things out, helped along by the presence of Bad Monkey, Tiger's stuffie. 

But, when the two decide to take a break from playing to enjoy an ice pop, the scales tip again. There is only one ice pop. The frenzied fight over the ice pop (it IS a red ice pop, after all) is comparable to the Tasmanian Devil taking off. And, in this swirling whirlwind, Bad Monkey gets tossed up in the air and stuck in a tree. Equally concerned for the fate of Bad Monkey, the friends work together to get the stuffie down, but this unity doesn't last long. Another fight ensues and, "Badger hits Tiger. Tiger pushes Badger. Badger pulls a tail. Tiger pounces." Words are said and, "Tiger throws himself on the ground. He is so sad and mad." This has to be one of the truest expressions of feelings I have seen in a picture book and, as someone who has parented three toddlers (none at the same time, thankfully) it rings so true. Badger throws herself on the ground, too, and they both "yell and they yell." Again, such familiar territory.

And then, as suddenly as it started, it is over. Tiger stands up to go home and Badger watches him. Then, "Tiger does his funny face" and Badger laughs. Tiger and Badger closes with these words, "They really are best friends." Besides just being a very fun story to read out loud, Tiger and Badger provides so many topics of conversation and in a straightforward enough way to engage a  very young child or even a school age child. What I appreciate most about Jenkins's book is the absence of an adult figure. Even the most well meaning adults sometimes step into a situation between children that they might have been better off working out amongst themselves. The beauty of Tiger and Badger is that young readers get to see the two "children" of the story working through anger and jealousy and working out physical and verbal battles on their own.

Source: Review Copy


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…