The Tiger Who Came To Tea

(106 Posts)
nigelslaterfan Tue 02-Feb-10 15:12:47

dd loves this book but am I being unreasonable to suggest that Sophie and her mother are massive pigs to sit at home and have such a massive tea of cake and buns and sandwiches? I mean it seems greedy to me.

MollyRoger Tue 02-Feb-10 15:14:55

Dh and I believe that Sophie's mum is a gin-fiend and it is all a ruse to be taken out for dinner as she has been too pissed all day to shop or cook etc.

deloola Tue 02-Feb-10 15:16:43

I love this book too - but I think sophie's mum made up the story to make up for the fact that she hadn't actually bought any tea so had to come up with a plan to get the daddy to take them out.

deloola Tue 02-Feb-10 15:17:38

x-post...

nigelslaterfan Tue 02-Feb-10 15:30:16

I agree she's a terribly tiny little Soak.
And that Tiger is a User.

At least it gives us a break from In the Blardy NIght Garden which is dd's total obsession.. sigh

shivster1980 Tue 02-Feb-10 15:33:05

The Tiger drank all of 'daddy's beer' but not all of Mummy's Gin so one can only assume she hid it very well! The art of an alcoholic. wink

EccentricaGallumbits Tue 02-Feb-10 15:34:28

always makes me feel like i'm tripping when i read it.
can still recite it beginning to end despite the DDs now being big and old.

nigelslaterfan Tue 02-Feb-10 15:35:15

Also This Is The Bear,
who fell in the bin
this is the dog who pushed him in...
know this off by heart, dd worships this book

LittlePushka Tue 02-Feb-10 15:40:58

Tiger is a freeloader, trust me,...I went out with him once or twice. Ended up in same skankey cafe as Sophies family frequent.

sarah293 Tue 02-Feb-10 15:43:10

Message withdrawn

Pancakeflipper Tue 02-Feb-10 15:45:45

tiger has it all sussed. I admire his charming ways to persuade gin soaked housewives to open their doors/ pantry and alcohol cupboard to him.

nigelslaterfan Tue 02-Feb-10 15:49:39

lol little push

TheElephant Tue 02-Feb-10 15:52:26

many a thread analysing this book

differentID Tue 02-Feb-10 15:52:28

doesn't anyone else think that mummy spent all day on here instead of getting tea sorted for the evening?

RedLentil Tue 02-Feb-10 15:57:45

Ok, the tiger is a figure for women's desire in the book.

Sophie allows the tiger into the house because she has not learnt that women's desires should be expressed only in limited,'palatable' forms.

Notice that the tiger 'can't be' any of the men who routinely visit the house - so even though he is male he is a figure for an expression of the women's feelings.

Both mummy and Sophie appear comfortable with the tiger and encourage him as he satisfies his (their) insatiable desire for fulfilment.

His desires though also wreak havoc in the home, leaving it unstable. The woman's work of washing, cooking and cleaning is barely possible in the house when he has finished.

When daddy comes home and sees the destruction there is no sign of the tiger: from his point of view there is clearly a link between the destruction and unrestrained consumption he sees and the women in front of him.

He restores patriarchal order by applying reason to the situation with his 'good idea'.

The mother is old enough to know that a woman gets more security in life by accepting 'little treats' from patriarchs than by demanding all her desires are met.

She accepts the offer of tea and Sophie is now aligned with her mother as they head out for their sausages and chips and ice-cream.

Both women know the secret about the existence of desire. Both keep the gleeful memory of what unrestrained desire feels like.

Both consign desire and the tiger to the past to keep daddy happy. And the tiger is never seen again.

Howzat. grin

In the transition stage of labour with dd2, I recited this book as a way of keeping calm. hmm

LittlePushka Tue 02-Feb-10 16:22:08

RedLentil - nice ideas, but....think they were all just scammed. grin

RedLentil Tue 02-Feb-10 16:22:33

I haven't seen the other threads, TheElephant.
Off to hunt for them.

The tiger food is interesting: do they buy it

a)so they can offer the tiger a more restrained experience if he comes back (they resolve to experience desire in less destructive ways)?

b)because they wish for him to come back and buying it marks for them their shared desire for this to happen?

c) To signal the ongoing presence of their transgressive desires. Daddy is, after all unlikely to look in the cupboards which are spaces in the book only known to women and tigers.

And why the trumpet? One option is for the tiger to return. The other is for the women to leave the home and follow this siren call.

Back to the playdough for me ...

squeaver Tue 02-Feb-10 16:23:58

Sophie's mother's a drunk.

tiredlady Tue 02-Feb-10 16:27:58

RedLentil,
You are absolutely spot on.
This book is all about sex.
It's filth!

RedLentil Tue 02-Feb-10 16:30:34

I'm putting my phd in English to good use on original research and getting accused of plagiarism. shockgrin

I've read the book at least 600 times - a girl has to keep her mind busy you know.

LittlePushka Tue 02-Feb-10 18:26:19

600 times?...you will have spotted the clever sub-plot then...

LittlePushka Tue 02-Feb-10 18:27:29

....to Zoo or not to Zoo?

I'd say chuck the blaggard in a cage!

cory Tue 02-Feb-10 21:11:42

RedLentil, you're scaring the shit out of me! I've got to give my first seminar in the English department on Friday - I can't cope!

<hides under table>

midnightexpress Tue 02-Feb-10 21:20:06

MArvellous redlentil. We usually read it in a Jungian psychoanalyst voice (German, natch) in the midnight household for all of the reasons you have so eloquently noted.

Though I can't help adding a rather sarcastic 'thank goodness!' when daddy appears to save the day with his 'good idea'.

theyoungvisiter Tue 02-Feb-10 21:23:39

A first for redlentil methinks...

However I would like to offer a different interpretation of the Tiger.

I see him as a figure of patriarchy, of male desire - the constant demands to be fed, satiated, served by the women of the household.

Note that the tiger is referred throughout as "He" and that a tiger is a common motif for sexually demanding, aggressive behaviour (cf "tiger in the sack" etc)

The tiger is, in literature, frequently used a contrasting, aggressive, motif to lamb-like innocence and the acceptance of suffering. Compare to William Blake's Tyger Tyger - "When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?"

By exploring the theme within the "safe" context of children's literature, the young (female) reader is simultaneously warned of the danger of men's untrammelled desire and of the unwisdom of admitting a strange male into the house.

At the same time she is given a coping mechanism to assuage and divert this desire - food. By stuffing the tiger with food-stuffs Sophie and her mother are able to divert his dangerous sexual energy into a safe channel.

The purchase of the tiger food is both an implicit warning of the possibility that the "tiger" may revisit Sophie when she is older, and a reminder of the need to take "precautions", should such an event occur.

RedLentil Tue 02-Feb-10 21:23:58

Cory, you will get on brilliantly. English is a great subject to do, because it asks you to think about assumptions you didn't realise you were making. (It's a very mumsnet-like experience in that way). I'm generally on the Aug 08 postnatal thread if you need a hand at any stage.

I teach part-time now, and I'm starting with some newbies tomorrow and the first thing they have to read is the first story ds ever told. There isn't much to learn about storytelling that can't be learned from a toddler and their story collection.

CDMforever Tue 02-Feb-10 21:26:13

I've always maintained that the mother is clinically insane. Just look at Dad's expression when she and Sophie are telling him all about the tiger.
"Not another imaginary, demented episode again. When am I going to come home to a proper bloody dinner??!!" thought Dad.
To add to that, poor Sophie has to wear her night dress out to the cafe. Poor love.

RedLentil Tue 02-Feb-10 21:34:47

Ah, theyoungvisiter. That is very persuasive.
Very interesting re the food.

I'm just printing out 4 versions of Little Red Riding Hood for the class tomorrow and will be using the dangerous male desire kind of argument there.

Shall we read it as both/and rather than either/or?

Lays out plate of biscuit to lure Cory out from under the table.

midnightexpress Tue 02-Feb-10 21:39:05

RedLentil, I hope you will be including this version, which is where Roald Dahl got the idea for his, I suspect.

theyoungvisiter Tue 02-Feb-10 21:41:47

well that's very true redlentil - all the best texts can be read on multiple levels and speak to the different fears/desires in different kinds of readers.

I think we are all agreed that the food orgy is a symbol for quite a different type of desire though - there was an interesting prog on radio 4 about food in children's literature and Michael Rosen made the point that food orgies are used because it's one of the acceptable forms of desire that you can write about in children. As he said, in adult literature it would normally be sexual desire, but you need something to fill that space.

SparkyfartDust Tue 02-Feb-10 21:46:31

my idle musing interpretation is that Sophie's mum has got an eating disorder- most likely bulimia.

The tiger represents this.

She attempts a civil and ordered tea, but troughs the lot. Sophie can't recognise her mother's behaviour and projects it on to that of a tiger.

BikeRunSki Tue 02-Feb-10 21:47:22

I think Sophie and her mother were very lucky to get off so lightly and should have done a more in depth dynamic risk assessment of the whole tiger situation.

theyoungvisiter Tue 02-Feb-10 21:50:06

One could also offer a more political reading and say that it is about rationing and the government control of food during the war (and much of the 50s).

After all the book was published in the 60s when food rationing was a very recent memory - certainly for all the parents reading the story. Food rationing continued until 1954 and petrol was being rationed as late as 57.

The tiger could be seen as the dangerous figure of the squanderbug - encouraging excessive, unrationed consumption.

This reading also provides a satisfying explanation for the otherwise slightly puzzling introduction of the consumption of the bath water - whereas a rationing model for the tiger accommodates this quite nicely, as part of the war campaign was to encourage people to take very shallow baths.

This may also explain the emphasis in the final episode on lights etc. When Sophie and her father and mother are walking outside we are told that all the shops and cars had their lights on - an oblique reference to the blackout, we presume.

RedLentil Tue 02-Feb-10 21:53:35

The version of Little Red Riding Hood that generally gets a reaction is this early French one.

And of course sausages, chips and ice-cream in a cafe is a child's food orgy of sorts.

The both/and comment wasn't flippant really: just as Dracula can be a figure of the fear of the collapse of the empire and hatred of it, any figure of desire will tend to be represent multiple and contradictory impulses.

I'm always interested in the picture of the cat in the street, standing behind them as they walk away from the house. The women are outside, but in the protective armlink of their 'father' and on their way to their sanctioned treat.

Behind them stands a tiger-striped domestic cat, looking very content. So the women's desire has been reduced to manageable and domestic proportions. So women's desire reduced.

Meanwhile, behind the cat is a dodgy looking geezer with his face concealed. He is certainly of a different class to the family in terms of dress, and could be just freezing or have something to hide. He is walking away though now and represents no threat to the father and his girls who can only look at him. So the threat of men's desire has been tackled also.

RedLentil Tue 02-Feb-10 22:01:37

That's great about the water. Thanks for that. The rationing thing says on one level that sometimes food in a story is 'just food'.

Sparkly-that idea about bulimia links into all the other ones about power, desire and regulation of the body.

Bikerunski ... rofl at risk assessment. grin

RedLentil Tue 02-Feb-10 22:02:47

Cory, after all that reading I misread your post. You are giving the seminar ... blush
Good luck with that.

domesticslattern Tue 02-Feb-10 23:05:46

Personally I always thought that the book was an expression of the Bakhtinian spirit of the carnivalesque, in which the social hierarchies of everyday life— their solemnities and pieties and etiquettes, as well as all ready-made truths—are profaned and overturned by normally suppressed voices and energies. Thus the order of the home becomes overturned by the visitor, and the ideas and truths of the "tea" are contested, by unruly behaviour. There is no separation of the spectator and the participant, as the child and mother partake with enthusiasm in the new world order, taking pleasure in the disorder and misrule. However, as with all carnival, the energies must be finally suppressed and order restored, in this case by the return of the patriarchal figure (Sophie's daddy), whose hat and briefcase are clear representations of the world of order and business. The "fooling" of the carnival comes to an end, and the proper order is restored, as evidenced by the way in which the father is seated while the child and mother must stand, awaiting his judgement. His "good idea", with its undertones of excitement and novelty, allows a connected segue from the true carnival to the absolute return of order, but is clearly on his terms. Authority is restored and there is no resistance from the carnival participants. As with all carnival, there is the hope of ordered disorder to come, but it is clearly confined ("canned") and so rendered safe.

RedLentil Tue 02-Feb-10 23:38:07

I feel a module coming on domesticslattern. smile

In the final class we could link the excessively polite, inadvertently disruptive and exotic tiger (who seems to think he has observed the conventions of a British high tea) with Paddington whose carnivalesque potential is also linked closely to his status as a racial other.

LittlePushka Tue 02-Feb-10 23:42:40

..er, righto,....or it could just be one of those barmy stories we all make up from time to time to entertain our LO's...smile

theyoungvisiter Wed 03-Feb-10 08:56:21

love it domestic!

Ok, another thought - what about an allegory of colonialist behaviour? This readering expresses the anxieties the British felt about their identity in a post-colonialist world, and their confused feelings about the wave of post-war immigration from their former colonies.

Following Indian independence in 1947, we see the Tiger (long-time sympbol ofthe exotic East) rise up against the former colonialist masters.

In an aggressive act of annexation he forces his way into their "land" and disrupts daily life, symbolised by the quintessentially British "tea" - which is of course, a symbol of the way the British have been leeching life out of the East for centuries via their tea plantations.

The tiger reclaims the wealth (tea, sugar) that his former masters have plundered from his land, and forces the women to serve him, just as colonialist powers forced the women of their former colonies to "serve" them in multiple ways.

At the end we see him literally drain the "land" dry with the consumption even of the stuff of life - water.

But in a disquieting act of acquiescence, he agrees to leave after having his fill. The last page holds a warning though - you must always keep a stock of supplies, in case the aggressor returns...

BelleDameSansMerci Wed 03-Feb-10 09:03:03

This is my favourite thread ever. No time to read it now so marking for later.

One point, though, Judith Kerr (author of Tiger) has said that sometimes a tiger is just a tiger (or something similar). Of course, she could have been subconsciously writing about desire, etc.

Can't wait to read this later...

theyoungvisiter Wed 03-Feb-10 09:07:39

"Judith Kerr (author of Tiger) has said that sometimes a tiger is just a tiger"

Tcha - authors always come out with that crap. wink

It's only so they aren't called upon to reveal the "definitive" reading.

Anyway, what did she do, undergo therapy to check all her cultural baggage at the door before writing? If you've a human being, especially one whose read a few books, a tiger is never just a tiger, especially not one that talks, eats you out of house and home, and plays the flute.

One can also argue that actually what the author meant is not that important - it's also what the reader can take from it. It takes two to tango enjoy a book. Or three of course, if you've got a pre-schooler on your lap.

[bangs gavel]

theyoungvisiter Wed 03-Feb-10 09:10:23

oh dear - I appear to have checked my typing skills and grammar at the door.

YOU'RE a human being.

WHO'S read a few books.

I won't even get started on READERING in my last post.

Lots of big red circles on my essay today.

MaggieTaSeFuar Wed 03-Feb-10 09:11:10

i hate the way the beer is referred to as 'Daddy's beer'. when i'm reading it i edit that to just 'all THE beer'.

MissWooWoo Wed 03-Feb-10 09:38:34

and there was I thinking I was the only one who had worked out what was really going on in this book!

Mu interpretaion isn't anywhere near as deep as other peoples ... to me Sophie's mum is just having a bad day ... when I'm having one I always think "ahhh the tiger has come to tea"

nigelslaterfan Wed 03-Feb-10 11:42:41

Also the mother is so small when she's telling the massive husband about the tragic situation before the tidal wave of relief brought on by the 'good idea' !

MissWooWoo Wed 03-Feb-10 11:47:50

but I think the man is nice blush she's had a bad day and she feels like shit and he comes home and does something nice ... takes them out for tea. It is a good idea to go out to eat in those circumstances!

nigelslaterfan Wed 03-Feb-10 11:52:01

in your nightie?
But I do agree, when he bursts in the door all big and manly even I feel relieved that there is an adult on the scene who will have a good idea no doubt.

MissWooWoo Wed 03-Feb-10 12:06:12

my sister has taken her dd down to the local Tesco Express (via the car) in her pjs and coat before - niece loved it! she would of course be turned away now grin

cory Wed 03-Feb-10 19:37:08

No I am not giving this seminar, RedLentil! I am staying right here under the table with my biscuits! shock

RedLentil Wed 03-Feb-10 21:13:38

Youngvisiter - I agree about the tea and sugar.

Does he annexe though? He is in a long line of racial others (Heathcliff, Dracula, Paddington) who are invited to cross the threshold.

Unlike the more dangerous characters in that line-up he also leaves at his own bidding: 'I think I'd better go now' and he went.

Like Paddington his comic force comes largely from his attempt to follow British conventions and his attempt to appear au fait with British manners.

He could of course destroy the tea table, but wants to sit there as an equal. He can't be as controlled and disciplined as his English friends but doesn't really notice that he is breaking lots of rules.

The purchase of the tin of tiger food puts him back in his place on this reading because, even if he comes back for tea, he will not get cakes and beer. He will get food that relegates him to the status of a racial other.

On the bulimia idea, most of the pictures show Sophie being affectionate towards him and so the focus is on him as a figure for her desire to eat everything on the tea table rather than the few bits she is allowed.

The carnivalesque reading works really well and accounts for that sense of relief and new appreciation of plain old daddy-centred home life at the end.

RedLentil Wed 03-Feb-10 21:14:14

<Puts out buns for Cory>

<Counts how many she eats>

BelleDameSansMerci Wed 03-Feb-10 21:20:40

cory could you bang a 1200 word essay on "the usefulness of the concepts of tradition and dissent in understanding attitudes towards the built heritage of Ireland" then please? I've done 200 words and need to get the rest done by lunchtime on Friday but can't be arsed face it this evening...

Bloody foundation course for OU BA inEng Lang/Lit that I didn't have the opportunity to do when I was young.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy for you, I would think!

nigelslaterfan Wed 03-Feb-10 21:23:26

But also, he never ever comes back does he, the Tyger?

MrsSantosloves2010 Wed 03-Feb-10 21:26:38

We are in Tiger-mode with the 2yo and I think some of the suggestions here are fantastic.

Sorry Judith Kerr, but being the author gives you no special rights or ownership. Once you have written the text then we have the right to read and interpret as we choose smile

Good thread!

BelleDameSansMerci Wed 03-Feb-10 21:31:20

I can recite the whole book, word for word, which is handy in the car. When my DD is being hard to please I change the tiger for another animal (elephant, lemur, whatever). They then have to speak in different voices.

The tiger sounds like Leslie Phillips; the elephant is deeper (obviously); and the lemur speaks very quickly and excitedly.

I need to get out more.

emskaboo Wed 03-Feb-10 21:34:18

Ok, I think you have to read TTWCTT in partnership with When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit.

It is a young girl's attempt to understand the loss of her former life.

The tiger, Nazi's, invade the home, initally seeming threatening but being absorbed into the family and normalcy, this refers to those who failed to fully recognise the threat and remained in Germany and were killed, the family friend in WHSPR.

The tiger gradually removes everything good from the family, food, access to water (allegory for freedom of movement etc).

Father returns home, recognises true risk and has a good plan, to flee, that's why Sophie is in her nightie. Cafe represents Paris, where Judith Kerr and her family initally fled to; but as said previously fomesti cat and dark man in the background on the journey there represent the ongoing threat.

Purchase of tiger food indicates, we must never forget.

I think it is significant that the Tiger looks so much like the Nazi 'cats' in Maus and think there is some shared artistic view there...

emskaboo Wed 03-Feb-10 21:35:16

Sorry, domestic cat

nigelslaterfan Wed 03-Feb-10 22:02:15

emskaboo! the book will never be the same to me now!
Lordy, I may have to lie down and think about that.

RedLentil Wed 03-Feb-10 22:34:35

Emskaboo - I didn't know all that about Judith Kerr and I hadn't read pink rabbit. Really fascinating and it does put the dad in a better light.

The tiger is both frightening and hugely attractive though. And he represents a kind of freedom from inhibition at the same time as the threat you describle.

Kerr's other cat, Mog, the hapless domesticated toddler/cat, pines for the kind of wild freedom he has. She dreams about being a bird all the time, tries to escape cages, jumps out of windows, forgets her cat flap ...

NigelSlaterFan - toddlers, like Sophie do see him again though because they invite him back into their lives each time they open the book.

And the Bakhtin idea of the carnival is that there is a time-limited reversal of roles in society that lets the powerless have power for a moment so that they can release their resentments (largely through laughter) before the status quo is restored. So the tiger going is part of that kind of plot.

beeny Wed 03-Feb-10 22:44:36

The mother is depressed or having an affair thats why there is no food.

emskaboo Wed 03-Feb-10 22:47:17

RedLentil, oh I agree with you about the sense of freedom the tiger represents, but for me that chimes with some of the stuff I've read about the rise of the Nazi party, the impulsiveness of the followers the violence and the pleasure in it, the terrible allure which pulled people in.

I'm glad it put the dad in a better light though, even when I was little he seemed so worried and weary to me.

I should also say I have no great attachment to my theory, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar!

Also when I read it as an adult I was shocked by how sexist it seemed, my mum and dad had always changed it to say, mummy and daddy's beer, and the mother was worried about their being no supper for her and daddy, not just daddy.

RedLentil Wed 03-Feb-10 22:56:37

Emskaboo-have you read Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood? Totally brilliant on the decadence of Berlin in the '30s.

That perspective does make it possible to see the tiger as a Berliner who is at home with the family but represents a terrible threat too.

It would be a shame if reading this put anyone off the book though. When I eventually look back on the time I have spent reading to my three children, a lot of those happy memories will be of sitting on the floor reading about Sophie and the tiger.

emskaboo Wed 03-Feb-10 23:02:08

I haven't, but I will, thank you.

I know what you mean about putting people off, and I did mean to say sorry to NigelSlaterFan. Please come back, I didn't mean be unsettling

I love this book, loved it as a child, was the first thing I bought my dsd, would have bought for my sister's three but she beat me to it, think she may have bought it when pregnant the first time and read it over and over to my ds. It is a lovely exciting, safely scary book.

Such a fabulous book - I love Sophie's lovely cafe nosh. Still faintly peeved I never read it as a little girl.
Re the Mog books, in 'Mog and the baby' (as I think it's called - can't check as in dd's bedroom), did anyone else notice the slightly suspicious ending when the mother of the baby (who has just been rescued from a near fatal accident by Mog) is driven home by the Mog family dad.
She was meant to be at work...in other words, is she having an affair?
Perhaps I am over analysing. As you were!

RedLentil Wed 03-Feb-10 23:44:22

I've just been digging about for my copy of the Isherwood book now to start it again, so thanks for prompting me to think of it.

Just to throw in one last happier theory.

I've just remembered the excitement my three have about going outside after dark-we hardly ever do. hmm

Anyway, when Sophie gets to wander outside in her nightie and eat sausage and chips, it lets her fulfil the fantasy of joining in when mummy and daddy go out at night for a meal ...

<scurries off to find babysitter>

Cory, are you ok under there?
Good luck for tomorrow.

When the young man near the back with a very high opinion of himself tries to make out that he knows more than you and is in fact Derrida, give him a Paddington stare and move on. All will be well, and all manner of things will be well...

RedLentil Wed 03-Feb-10 23:45:37

Covering my ears about the idea that Mr Mog could be having an affair.

<la la la, la, la, la>

nigelslaterfan Wed 03-Feb-10 23:58:29

I'm sorry, was only an idle speculation!
Mr Mog is a fine upstanding chap, I am sure wink.
Liking the Paddington/Dracula analogy btw.

TheDevilWearsPrimark Thu 04-Feb-10 15:10:16

Just saw this thread in the newsletter - love it!

DD got Tiger who came to tea with a little tea set for christmas, love the tea set - hate the book!

Ooh, I was told it was a feminist tale - that Sophie's mummy was so pissed off with having to cook and clean and keep house, that she invented a tiger as an excuse not to have to do it anymore. Then daddy had to sort it out himself by taking them to a cafe.

Have you noticed how tiny Sophie's mummy is compared to Sophie's daddy? Much as I love the book, I find that element quite disturbing.

bobdog Thu 04-Feb-10 16:36:03

Excellent thread, I gave up English lit but never stopped reading, the dcs don't have too many books just not enough shelves.

As an engineer specialising in steam if anyone wants a technical thread on Thomas and the Fat Controller I have a lot to say about the engines running with their drains open all the time. My dc 4&2 have certainly learnt the difference between steam and smoke and shout they've left the blower on at tv interpretation. grin

Today, the house is a tip, I can't be arsed to cook and I certainly feel like telling Dp the tiger came to tea - sometimes a cafe would just be a cafe.

jellyhead Thu 04-Feb-10 17:32:54

I think daddy looks the dodgy one.
something not 'quite right' as my nan would say

LoveImmigrantYankee Thu 04-Feb-10 17:46:09

Fabulous! love the literary analysis! Brings back my post-grad days...
I think I'll hide under the table with Cory!

Not being a native, I thought I was not feeding my child enough when I saw Sophie's tea! Wondered about the water as well. '70s cutback?

roundwindow Thu 04-Feb-10 19:50:28

Just want to say how much fun it's been reading this thread, thank you all for spilling the contents of your brilliant mindsgrin Nothing to add though. Except that when the word 'carnivalesque' came up I immediately thought of Sophie's tights.

MaggieTaSeFuar Thu 04-Feb-10 20:01:52

can we analyse six dinner sid now. by inga moore. ?

MaggieTaSeFuar Thu 04-Feb-10 20:02:20

i say 'we' but i mean you clever lot!

jessia Thu 04-Feb-10 20:24:41

Think this has to be one of the best threads I've ever read on Mumsnet.
DH and I were always of the tiger = fantasy/desire school of thought, but as soon as I realised that Kerr was she of WHSPR it gained a whole new level.
Sophie's daddy in fact looks suspiciously like my DH (dress sense not much better either hmm). And the "nothing for tea - well we'll just have to get a pizza in go to a cafe" scenario is all too familiar as well. Should I be worried?? grin

Ah, Jessia, I think Sophie's Daddy is immaculate - love his raincoat.
In fact what I love most about the book is the palpable sense of excitement in going out for tea to a cafe - it seems such an innocent, 70's kind of pleasure somehow, and doubly special because it's dark and all the shops are lit up etc. (Plus the cat - tiger? - in the street)
I resolve to go out for more cafe teas on the strength of this book!
Can we do 'Where the Wild Things Are' next please, or has it been done? smile.

MaggieTaSeFuar Thu 04-Feb-10 21:39:23

yes my son always points at the baby tiger!

who wrote where the wild things are?

foxy75 Thu 04-Feb-10 21:53:12

Since I know that Judith Kerr, who I think is a great writer and illustrator, is Jewish, and that her family were directly affected by the Second World War (they fled to the UK), I read the tiger as more threatening. I wonder whether he is a kind of a cover story or a screen for something far more disturbing that might come into the house and ransack the place? And yet, although big, powerful and ravenous, he also seems benign, almost friendly. I like the way that Sophie's mum buys a big tin of tiger food, in order to be prepared for future visits. I haven't got any of that in my cupboard at home...

I also enjoy the way that the tiger resembles Mog, Judith Kerr's other well-known picture books. Don't you just love the retro style of her pictures? So evocative, takes me back to my own 70's childhood...

Maggie, it was Maurice Sendak, not really relevant to this thread, but another children's classic. Must have been covered here by these literary brainiacs already though!

foxy75 Thu 04-Feb-10 22:02:20

Brilliant, Redlentil, love it. Like the 'canned' referring to the tin of tiger food at the end. You should be on my Children's Literature MA at Roehampton, or have you already graduated?!

So many children's picture books have this kind of carnivalesque breaking-out. Of course, The Cat in the Hat is another favourite one. I will keep my eyes out for the carnival next time I read a bedtime story...

RedLentil Thu 04-Feb-10 23:04:49

I'm an old colleague of a Canadian lecturer in the department there, Foxy. We used to teach together at a university in the Midlands.

The children's literature MA sounds great. Sadly, I am old and wear the bottom of my trousers rolled.

20thC Irish writing in English is my usual stomping ground.

The cafe is wonderful isn't it.We always read it as CAF -FAY in a flamboyant kind of way and sing 'Toodle-oo, toodle-oo, toodle--oo' at the end.

emskaboo Thu 04-Feb-10 23:24:52

And we always sing gooooodbye gooooodbye gooooodbye, for a wee while my ds used to say that to everyone instead of his more customery, bye (moist eye emoticon)

time4tea Fri 05-Feb-10 00:08:13

when you read this story, what sort of voice do you give the tiger? I give him a sort of posh, modest voice - just right when he says "I think I'd better go now"

tiptop thread grin

MarineIguana Fri 05-Feb-10 00:11:38

Ah brilliant thread.

When I was little, I thought the fact that Sophie got to go to the cafe in her nightie was the best bit (even more exciting than the tiger!). That was the most "moment of misrule" part for me. I thought wow, once a tiger's turned up and eaten all your food, my god anything can happen...

MarineIguana Fri 05-Feb-10 00:15:16

I thought the definitive performance was by Marc Warren (blond one out of hustle) on Cbeebies bedtime story. His tiger was kind of growly/fruity and very posh, with fantastic eyebrow movements.

cory Fri 05-Feb-10 07:00:57

<crawls out from under table, licking chops>

thank you very much for the buns and biscuits

RedLentil Fri 05-Feb-10 10:52:16

Restorative buns here after the class too Cory.

Carnival tights - genius.

I think we are barking up the wrong tree though in seeing the loss of water as a bad or threatening thing.(and in 1968 the book pre-dates the 1970s strikes).

For parents it would be a nightmare, but for Sophie the lack of water means not having to go through the nightmare of having her long hair washed and getting shampoo in her eyes.

No water=a good thing.

Blu Fri 05-Feb-10 13:11:55

RedLentil, I think that the subjugation of the carnal dsires which takes place on Daddy's return is symolised by the transormation of the tiger into a small marmalade domestic cat who picks his way through the rain, amidst the rest of the humdrum traffic, as they walk home from the cafe. Daddy's order is fully restored.

Apart, of course, from the can of tiger food which lurks within the dark, secretive, closed interior (a clear vaginal metaphor) of the kitchen cupboard. The constant challenge to reason.

MarineIguana Fri 05-Feb-10 13:29:27

Has anyone got The Dancing Tiger? Now that is so obviously about female sexuality I can hardly read it without blushing. Old granny passes onto her her granddaughter her thrilling secret that once a month (!) she sneaks off at midnight and has an, ahem, "dance" with a magical "tiger".

RedLentil Fri 05-Feb-10 14:36:14

Blu - that chimes with the reading of the small cat we had earlier. Now if we need intertexts we can link it to Hemingway's 'Cat in the Rain' ...

TantieTowie Fri 05-Feb-10 15:21:19

Not to mention Pigwitchery, in which a pig-witch loses her wand and with it her ability to do magic.

Until the wise old pig of the forest tells her she doesn't need a wand to do magic, all she needs is her own tail - and promptly goes into a sequence that can only be interpreted as orgasmic. Seems so obvious to me I was quite embarrassed when DS wanted his grandpa to read it to him...

nigelslaterfan Fri 05-Feb-10 17:47:15

LOL Blu at Daddy and the carnal desires and the little marmalade cat - good call, I have to respect that! Daddy comes home and stands all huge in the door to return the house to ORDNUNG!

emskaboo yes yes yes yes! singing the end just like that!

Redlentil love the carnival tights too

time4tea exactly that voice yes!!

Also for those of you who love Daddy coming home and rescuing the feminine principle from imminent self destruction by its own lust, what say you about his incredibly sad and loving expression as the titchy munchkin wifey expounds upon the tragedy of the empty cupboard? He looks like Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird - Noble Forbearance and Mature Love Up Against the Horror of the Real World

PerArduaAdNauseum Fri 05-Feb-10 19:48:51

I am now so very much in love with redlentil, emskaboo and blu.

I really must spend more time here.

And maybe read the Tiger who came to tea.

Cathpot Fri 05-Feb-10 20:14:16

Tiger voice- deep, slow, posh, slightly sing song
Mummy - very very RP,radio announcer from 1950s, hint of repressed hysteria, clearly highly self medicated
Daddy voice- soft cockney- hints that possibly mumy married beneath her and hasnt really got a grip on having to do domestic things oneself darling

but he neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeveeeer did

(Anyone else find themselves reading Dr Dog's voice in clipped pyscho-analyst style German?)

RedLentil Fri 05-Feb-10 20:18:36

PerArdua blush

It was roundwindow who noticed the carnival tights btw. If this thread goes on it's going to need a proper referencing system. grin

I noticed today that Mog, the definitely female cat, is always under pressure to submit to the desires of others. Not just because she is a version of a toddler, but a version of a mother too (she often dreams of having kittens.

She feels suffocated by the demands of a baby, disrupts a cat beauty pageant and fights back against medical intervention by a vet who is definitely up to something dodgy with his submissive veterinary assistant.

Even in the burglar one she strikes a blow against patriarchy by sitting on top of the television and obstructing Mr. Thomas's view of the boxing.

Do I need to get out more? You can answer honestly.

RedLentil Fri 05-Feb-10 20:19:47

Grammar awful there. Sorry.

PerArduaAdNauseum Fri 05-Feb-10 20:28:36

Nah, not get out more, just publish grin

nigelslaterfan Fri 05-Feb-10 22:01:02

If the Tiger were a film:

Tiger - Benecio del Toro/Robert Mitchum
Sophie - Saoirse Ronan from (younger girl from Atonement)
Mummy - Shelley Winters
Daddy - Gregory Peck

But what about Mog's Bad Thing? The Shame.
And Mog's Christmas?
The Talking Tree? The Aunties on tippy toe? The garrulous uncles? The terrible juggled dead mice? The tragedy of Mog having gone Up Onto The Roof? The cancellation of Christmas? It's too awful.

lousouthend Sat 06-Feb-10 22:00:54

I loved this book when little and always felt really, really sad that the tiger never came back even though the lovely tiger food was there waiting. Reading it to my kids this bit troubles me still. Are any of you saddened by this? Also my sil changes the cafe meal to chicken and peas(and no icecream) because it is healthier and it really annoys me,because I think it the cafe meal should be fun. What do you think?

MarineIguana Sat 06-Feb-10 22:10:28

shock at changing the food - outrageous! What a miserable killjoy. If I knoew anyone who did that I think I would have to sneakily read the book properly to their DC when they weren't looking

NowWhatIsit Mon 22-Feb-10 19:32:22

My DH can still come home on occasion and be greeted by me saying, Oh No, you'll never guess what happened... we have to eat out/get takeaway.....Pesky tigers.

mortalcoils Tue 23-Feb-10 09:17:53

Isn't the tiger obviously meant to be having an affair with the mother? As I see it, the book is an attempted refutation of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, in which the assumption is that for a man to have an affair is bad, but not mortal for a marriage, but a woman's affair will always destroy everyone involved. In the TWCTT, the family survives the mother-tiger relationship, mainly through the compliance, innocence and good nature of the husband.

cazzybabs Tue 23-Feb-10 19:37:36

mortalcoils - I just thought it was about a tuger who came for tea (cazzy puts on dunces hat and goes and sits in the corner)

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