A ‘sad and thin’ old tiger lives on the edge of the jungle. He finds food difficult to catch but comes up with an ingenious solution to his problems. He takes the place of the tiger-skin rug in the Rajah’s palace and when the family retires to bed, he eats up the scraps from their supper. All goes well until the servant notices that the rug is getting heavier. Tiger fears discovery but when thieves break in and attack the Rajah, the tiger saves him and is then kept on, a much loved member of the family.
First published in 1979, this confidently witty picture book has exceptionally well realised characterisation – from the wistful Tiger peering through the palace window at the Rajah’s family, to Tiger pretending to be a rug, to Tiger (now a member of the family) lounging blissfully in the garden pool. Gerald Rose’s richly textured, decorative illustrations convey the movement and drama of each scene with his fluid line and bright palette and rise to a double page crescendo as ‘Tiger leapt to the Rajah’s rescue’. A thrilling yet satisfying story that well deserves being brought back into print.