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Published: Hachette, August 2020
We have loved our book post over the last few weeks with lots of exciting new picture book releases and Fly, Tiger, Fly! written and illustrated by Rikin Parekh, was another one which my son got hugely excited about. After all, the idea of a flying tiger is pretty exciting and HOW he was going to manage that was my five year old's key question.
Riku is desperate to be the world's first flying tiger. Everyone in his family has achieved something special and now it is his turn. But Riku soon discovers that it's not easy for a tiger to fly. His best friend Jim knows exactly what the problem is but Riku is determined to persevere. Seeing how much it means to his friend, Jim sets about making his dream a reality. Will Riku finally get off the ground?
There are several stars of this story. Firstly Riku, for his endless determination, perseverance and brilliantly creative ideas, which will have little ones shrieking with delight. Secondly, Jim for having doubts but standing by his friend regardless and endeavouring to make his dream come true. And finally, the entire feathered community for teaming together to make Riku's dream become a reality. Help comes to those who help themselves and although Riku doesn't quite manage to solve his dilemma on his own, he remains focussed and pro-active through out, showing readers that determination really is the key.
Not only is the plot funny and ingenious, Rikin Parekh's illustrations are eye-poppingly good, bursting with so much character and personality that the characters feel vividly alive! Just look at the expression on Riku's face as he drifts across the front cover! Priceless! Although we have read similar themed animal books in recent years, it is the vividness and vibrancy of this story which makes it stand out.
The presence of the tree, for me adds an extra layer to the tale. Riku feeling pressured to live up to the achievements of his relations makes the story more dynamic and adds to the tiger's motivation to succeed. Comparing themselves to a sibling, friend or feeling like they need to live up to a parent's expectations is something readers will be able to relate to, whether young or old. However, the strength of friendship between Riku and Jim makes it feel safe, should he fail. Jim loves Riku as he is and doesn't need him to fly and yet he endeavours to help him because he can see it means so much to him.
So, if you are after a humorous, uplifting picture book about reaching for the stars, the power of friendship, teamwork and not giving up, then this is one for your bookshelf. It is a feast for the eyes and will tug on your heartstrings. Your little ones will have bags of fun predicting ways that a tiger can fly and will be rooting for Riku to get lift-off!
Fly, Tiger, Fly was released in August and is now available to buy.
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