A Wild Look At Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Jen Vincent
It’s no secret that my favorite book of the year is Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown. At ALA in June, Colby pointed it out to me at the Little, Brown booth. When I read it, it made giggle, it made me gasp, it made me want to tell everyone about it. So I have been! I’ve reviewed it on my blog, told my going wild story, shared others’ wild stories, and compared Mr. Tiger to Katy Perry and her song Roar. You would think I would be done talking about Mr. Tiger…but, I’m not! I. just. love. this. book.
I’ve talked a lot about Mr. Tiger and his story but not enough about the illustrations so today I’m sharing what I love about the artwork in Mr. Tiger. Throughout this book, Peter Brown’s illustrations bring the story to life in all sorts of wild ways.
In the beginning of Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, we see Mr. Tiger amidst everyone else in town. He’s facing us but everyone else is moving around him – to me it seems like they are moving away from him actually. After listening to Jon Klassen talk about his work, I started to understand how important movement is in picture books. From the beginning, Peter’s artwork helps us perceive this movement and it is also the first clue that Mr. Tiger doesn’t feel like he fits in.
When Mr. Tiger is struck with his wild idea, his head moves down, down, down the page until we see him on all fours on the next spread. I love that we can see him mischieviously planning to go through with this wild plan. The anticipation of what we’ll find on the next page is awesome. It reminds me of This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen and the layout that is completely covered in seaweed. You know the next page is going to be epic and you want to turn the page but you also want to hold onto that moment of anticipating just how great the next page will be.
Have you ever realized that most movement in a picture book typically goes from left to right? I hadn’t until Jon Klassen pointed out how the bear running back to the rabbit and his beloved, pointy, red hat in I Want My Hat Back is somewhat non-traditional.
Well, Mr. Tiger doesn’t just go from right to left, he goes wild. Here’s an example from Mr. Tiger Goes Wild when you can really see Mr. Tiger moving all over the place – he goes from left to right, he goes from right to left, he goes up the building and then he gets in your face and roars…and you can’t help but want to roar along with him.
There is one more amazing layout where Mr. Tiger jumps into a water fountain with clothes on and pops his head out with his clothes off. (You can imagine what’s on the next page.) Again, because of Peter’s artwork you can’t help but visualize the splash of water, a tiger head emerging playfully, and then the giant leap that gets him to the next page. It literally feels as though Mr. Tiger is moving through the pages of the book.
While illustrations in a book can’t possibly show us everything, they can inspire us to imagine what happens from one page to the next. It’s as though the images move and we imagine more because of them. In Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, we see how Peter Brown’s outstanding artwork accomplishes this and brings Mr. Tiger to life.
If you haven’t read Mr. Tiger Goes Wild yet, I encourage you to check it out! And if you have read it, maybe it deserves another look just to marvel at how intentional the illustrations are and how they truly bring Mr. Tiger to life. I’m sure I’ve only started to notice how amazing the art is so please share what you love about it or what stands out to you!
Jen Vincent likes to live life a little wild sometimes and has been known to peel her bananas from the bottom. She is a Coordinator of Instructional Technology in the suburbs of Chicago. She tweets at @mentortexts and blogs at http://www.teachmentortexts.com. Roar!