The Tiger who Came to Tea is as old as me, published in the the year I was born. Strangely, I never knew the book as a child. It wasn’t until I was a teacher that I first discovered it and then, later, I bought it for my own children. It’s now a book I buy as a gift for new parents or very young children.
Judith Kerr who wrote and illustrated The Tiger who came to Tea, amongst other classics as the Mog books and the child’s-eye memoir When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, is now in her eighties and still working.
Kerr has had an astonishing life, escaping Nazi Germany as a child, where her father was a distinguised writer and had his books burned. She took up writing and illustrating children’s books when her own children were learning to read. (Her son is Matthew Kneale, author of acclaimed English Passengers, so it must have paid off.)
And now The Tiger who came to Tea has been adapted for the stage by David Wood and is on a countrywide tour.
I hope it keeps the surreal and poignant quality of Kerr’s work.
This got me thinking about my Top Ten Children’s Picture Books. So here they are:
Not Now Bernard by David McKee
Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Eric Carle
Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill
A Balloon for Grandad by Jane Ray and Nigel Gray
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss
The Tale of Benjamin Bunny by Beatrix Potter
So many to choose from … didn’t even mention Tove Jansson’s Moomins or Ezra Jack Keats’ Whistle for Willie or The Paperbag Princess (Munsch/Martchenko) or Angry Arthur (Hiawyn Oram/Satoshi Kitamura) or Rod Campbell’s I went to the Zoo or Owl Babies (Waddell Benson) or LaurenChild…