CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 37 . . . . May 27, 2011
The theme of Louis the Tiger Who Came From the Sea is imagination. Two delightfully curious young siblings, Ali and Ollie, wake one morning to the sound of a tiger snoring in their backyard. Before long, the two children have speculated just who the tiger is and from where he has come. Imagination is at play from sunrise to sunset. The youngest readers will likely have trouble deciphering that Louis is a product of Ali and Ollie's imagination, though this theme could easily initiate a conversation about imaginative play between the child listener and the adult reader.
The colorful and detailed illustrations by Sholto Walker provide young readers with a lot to look at and keep their attention while they listen to the story. From the patterned blankets and curtains of the children's bedroom to the orange and yellow reflections of the sun in the ocean, each page is artfully designed. Louis the Tiger Who Came from The Sea could easily become a part of a larger collection of the tales of these two curious children, and it is my hope that we see Ali and Ollie, with their wide eyes and pink cheeks, again.
Many words, such as "carrot," "waves" and "rolling," are both larger than the font of the rest of the text and also colored, which provide moments for the young reader to participate in reading. As well, one of the more engaging qualities of the text is the way the text is integrated into the illustrations on some of the pages. For instance, the word "roar" or the line, "Just then, Louis awoke and let out a great big ROOOOAAARRR and everyone ran inside," stretches across both pages and draws the child's eyes to the next page.
Louis the Tiger Who Came From the Sea is a memorable tale that a young reader will likely ask to hear again and again. It's a perfect book to read before bed as Ali and Ollie's day slips into night on the last page: "Ali and Ollie watched him until they could not tell whether it was an orange wave or an orange Louis swimming away, because the sun had begun to set and was casting an orange glow over the whole ocean."
Jessica Kluthe is a recent MFA graduate in Writing at the University of Victoria and is currently writing an Italian Canadian memoir.
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