Tiger vs. Nightmare by Emily Tetri, 64pp, RL1.5
Tiger vs. Nightmare by Emily Tetri
Review Copy from First Second
Tiger vs. Nightmare is a standout among kid's books on this subject. Tetri creates a sparse but distinct world where tigers repair spacecraft and a monster, albeit a friendly monster who likes to eat curry and play games, lives under the bed of a resourceful little tiger.
When Tiger was born, a monster came to scare her, but Monster didn't think it seemed fair to scare a baby. However, as Tiger says, "Monsters gotta scare something, though," so it starts scaring away Tiger's nightmares for her. Until one nightmare is too frightening for Monster to scare away and Tiger has a nightmare.
After a failed attempts to help Monster, Tiger realizes that she has to fight the monster because, after all, the monster is not real - it is in her head. It's not an easy battle, but having the right mindset proves powerful in the end, Tiger and Monster curl up for a good night's sleep.
Tetri, who has worked as a background designer and painter for TV animation (the awesome Legend of Korra, to be specific), creates monsters that are capable of being both fiercely scary and, when needed, meekly timid. Her illustrations range from sweeping, gestural scenes where colors bleed off the page to tight, expressive emotions and warm, family moments. Tetri uses colors to set the emotional tone as well. The overall effect, amidst the fear and the battle, is bursting warmth and joy, just like the expansive burst of triumph that fills Tiger's room with glowing light when she realizes she has won the battle. A magnificently memorable graphic novel that reads like a picture book.