Mr. Tiger Goes Wild- Peter Brown.
This is a book you want to have. If there is anyone in your life who you want to know that it’s okay to go and follow their dreams, then I firmly yell Give THEM This Book! And give it to yourself, too, because it is fantastic and important and freeing and divine.
Set in a place where animals live in a Victorian era style, all wearing clothes and frowning on rambunctiousness, Mr. Tiger feels the call of nature (in a “my senses, my senses” way) and decides to follow it. He throws off his top hat and breeches and vest, goes on four paws, and he becomes a new animal. The other animals, his friends, spurn him and though he cares for his old life, he cares more for being alive in a way that makes him feel good. It is, in a word, fantastic.
I picked Varmints up at my local library, on the search for a book for my niece. I generally let my cover judgement run wild when I'm in the picture book section- it's the time I truly can allow myself to judge a book by it's cover, as the art on the cover is the same on the inside and I read picture books for the pictures, more than anything else. And Varmints... it seemed dark and different and I liked the look of the little creature on the front. It seemed familiar, something my own mind would conjour up.
And this story... to try and stop myself from writing a review in endless ellipses I'll use run on sentences and no structure (do I ever?) and go all out.
Varmints tells a story that is short and drifting and felt like it came from somewhere inside of me, somewhere I recognised and felt a kinship to. It's a shifting story of happiness to darkness to hope, and I read the words to my niece and I connected with every. single. one. The words that were subtle and the words that were hard to read and the words that left you wondering and all of it. They all left me hopeful. And what more could a picture book- any book- do?