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I am (possibly) over-analysing "The Tiger who came to Tea". Do you do the same with childrens' books?

(61 Posts)
Pendulum Fri 26-Jun-09 13:24:28

I love reading this book to my DDs, but always end up thinking about it really hard. What was at the back of Judith Kerr's mind when she wrote it?

- Is it meant to be the kind of fantasy story a child of Sophie's age would make up and tell her teachers?

- Is it a parable about the excitement of a change to the everyday routine (a guest at tea-time, no bath, supper in a cafe- the latter especially exotic I guess at the time of writing)

- Or is it a tale that Sophie's Mogadon-ed up mother make up to explain to her dad why his dinner wasn't ready?

Anyone else thought about this? What other childrens' books seem to you to have hidden depths?

brimfull Fri 26-Jun-09 13:28:25

yes lol

I go for the mogadon-ed mother one.That book always cheers me up.

I want to walk down the aisle of a supermarket and by a big fucking tin of tiger food.

Pendulum Fri 26-Jun-09 13:36:35

ggirl- my DD1 searched the aisles for Tiger Food and was devastated not to find it.

I love the picture of them walking along the dark street. Reminds me of how exciting it was to be out after dark as a child.

Wheelybug Fri 26-Jun-09 13:39:45

There is a huge thread about this which is quite amusing.

i think it was actuaslly something to do with nazi occupation of germany.

We saw it on stsage recently and the real live judith kerr came on stage at the end. She is quite ancient !

Pendulum Fri 26-Jun-09 13:42:49

oooh thanks wheelybug I will search for it.

shame I can't come up with an original thread though!

paisleyleaf Fri 26-Jun-09 13:43:28

"I love the picture of them walking along the dark street. Reminds me of how exciting it was to be out after dark as a child"

Me too smile

Seeline Fri 26-Jun-09 13:43:54

I don't care why she wrote it - she could have been high on LSD - it's still one of the best children's books ever. I loed it as a child and both my DS and DD have loved it. Despite it being so old fashioned now, teh images it creates are still amazing.

Pendulum Fri 26-Jun-09 13:51:31

Have found the thread. It's a 2004 'classic' started by Cod.

Of all the threads to copy, I had to choose one of Cod's. Sheeeesh.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 26-Jun-09 13:53:44

do see the show, it's truly lovely (i've seen it twice!)

wasabipeanut Fri 26-Jun-09 14:04:20

DS recently was given a copy as an Easter pressie. I was struck by how it is such a 70's book, including the illustrations but it is nice and DS loves it.

Pyrocanthus Fri 26-Jun-09 14:12:11

'I love the picture of them walking along the dark street. Reminds me of how exciting it was to be out after dark as a child. ' (Pendulum).

Exactly, I was a small child in the 1960s and I've always thought that I knew that street.

BonsoirAnna Fri 26-Jun-09 14:15:22

I don't get The Tiger who Came to Tea.

My mother adores it and always gets it out when DD stays with her. I just see a really boring middle-class suburban family of its era and a rather silly story.

DD isn't very keen, either.

Harry the Dirty Dog - now that's a much better story!

mollyroger Fri 26-Jun-09 14:23:43

I love that book but dh and i always agreed tht sophie's mum must have drunbk all daddy's beer herself and then cooked up the story...

I alwyas had to read it with a RP , 1950s bbc presnter sort of voice!

Horton Fri 26-Jun-09 14:25:48

Where did you grow up, Pyrocanthus? I am also convinced I knew that street. Judith Kerr lived fairly close to where I grew up so I am sure I am right.

I think it's a wonderful book. Never heard of Harry the Dirty Dog.

Pyrocanthus Fri 26-Jun-09 17:13:21

I'm not really sure where I'm thinking of Horton; we moved round quite a lot, but it's always triggered a memory of evening shopping with my parents when I was about 6, possibly somewhere like Ware in Herts. But could be Cambs or Essex, Kent at a push. I think it's more an impression than a clear identification. Where did Judith Kerr live?

Horton Fri 26-Jun-09 17:40:26

I think she lived in Roehampton. I grew up near there and there were a few branches of the butchers in the night picture (Pethers) round here. I think at least one still exists.

kathyis6incheshigh Fri 26-Jun-09 17:43:09

I always think I'm overanalysing and then I read an interview with the author and it turns out I'm right. I thought I was being silly in thinking Paddington was about illegal immigration but then lo and behold, Michael Bond said in an interview it was a time when there was a lot of hostility towards immigrants so he wanted to create a character who was an immigrant that you couldn't help loving.

My take on The Tiger... is that it's to do with Judith Kerr's experiences in the war. There are several echoes of When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit.

Othersideofthechannel Fri 26-Jun-09 17:48:58

I love both the 'Tiger who came to tea' and Harry the dirty dog

BonsoirAnna, did you know they have animated it. The DCs have got it on DVD.

Heated Fri 26-Jun-09 17:56:03

I remember that thread smile a MNer's MIL gave an analysis of TTWCTT:

"the tiger represents the rage of the not-yet-independent preschooler and her yearning to be out of the house. Hence kitty shrinks back into proportion once they are off to the cafe.
The tiger, by trashing the kitchen and eating all the food, is also doing the stuff Sophie secretly wants to do but can't."

BonsoirAnna Fri 26-Jun-09 18:23:32

Now Heated that is a good explanation of why my mother likes that book and DD and I don't smile.

TheProfiteroleThief Fri 26-Jun-09 18:26:35

I don't like the way that mummy cannot solve the problem, but waits for daddy to come home (who sits in armchair while mummy begs and audience) before decreeing they can go to a cafe!

nkf Fri 26-Jun-09 18:32:23

Daddy is very camp.Just go and look at that picture of him when he comes through the door. The after dark walk and the sausages and chips bit is great.

edam Fri 26-Jun-09 18:39:28

Didn't Judith Kerr squash all speculation about sub-text by saying, very slowly: 'It's about a tiger who came to tea?'

But I like the MIL's analysis!

nkf Fri 26-Jun-09 18:46:09

Sub text is usually in the eye of the reader though. Nothing wrong with that.

Pendulum Fri 26-Jun-09 18:47:36

Heated, I have often wondered whether the cat in the 'after dark' picture represented the tiger- whether Sophie had built the fantasy around the neighbourhood cat. That's a really interesting interpetation.

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