Slip off the paper jacket of this handsome picture book and run your fingernails over the corrugated cover slashed with orange and black. SKRITCH! SCRATCH! Remind you of a cat sharpening its claws? That’s one thing you can’t do with an ebook! From start to finish, from bricked-up brown endpapers inside the front cover to luxuriant green tree-filled ones at the end, from a minimalist palette to hand-lettered text — every aspect of visual storytelling has been meticulously designed in “Mr. Tiger Goes Wild.” It’s easy to pick out our hero on the jam-packed first page: Even though he’s as squared-off and upright as everyone else, he’s the only one who’s orange. He’s also the only one with his eyes wide open, and he’s staring right at you. Peter Brown is no stranger to the irresistible energy of orange, as his Caldecott honor title “Creepy Carrots!” attests. And he’s no stranger to the untamed heart of childhood. When top-hatted, bow-tied, suit-coated Mr. Tiger drops down onto all fours, young readers will understand at once what’s happening. But as he leaps, superhero-like above the rooftops, “His friends did not know what to think.” When he sheds everything but his stripes, others suggest, “If you must act wild, kindly do so in the WILDERNESS!” Echoes of Max and that famous band of Wild Things abound. “So Mr. Tiger ran away . . . into the wilderness . . . where he went completely wild! . . . But Mr. Tiger was lonely.” Like Max, he must return. And like Max, he finds a ready welcome in the bosom of civilization. But there’s a difference as well: Once home, he’s not greeted by a hot supper but by an eyes-wide-open city subtly changed by his subversive ways.

— Kristi Elle Jemtegaard


By Peter Brown

Little, Brown. $18, ages 4-7

”Mr. Tiger Goes Wild” by Peter Brown. (Little, Brown)