Arthur and the Tiger
Puffin Books, 2019
32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99
Arthur’s circus is full of daring performers.
The Acrobat can soar like an eagle. The Strongman can lift a car with one finger. The Jugglers can breathe fire like dragons. But Arthur has never been brave enough to learn any daring circus tricks. He would prefer to have a picnic and tea with his friends.
So what will Arthur do when a terrifying tiger joins the circus? Especially when his father, the Ringmaster tells him he is to be the tiger tamer!
This new book from Sophie Beer with its bright illustrations with a rather retro look focuses on Arthur facing his fears and overcoming them, albeit with a little help from the tiger itself. Even though community rumours have built up the fear to fever pitch, perhaps, in reality, things aren’t as bad as they seem.
It also takes readers back to a time when the circus coming to town was a huge event, animals were allowed to be part of the acts and part of the appeal was seeing them as wild creatures being subjugated by humans even though they were supposedly wild and fierce and scary. In fact circus public relations traded on this to attract the crowds so if older students were investigating animal rights in relation to recent news events, this could be a valuable resource to examine another perspective. Similarly, the way the citizens of the city respond to the news of the tiger, each adding to or twisting the story could also be the basis for a discussion about fake news, particularly in light of the current election.
Good picture books span age groups – this is one of those.