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Published by: Two Hoots, Pan Macmillan, 21st July 2022
Following the release of The Fire Fox last year, Alexandra Page and Stef Murphy have teamed up again to bring us another beautiful picture book called The Worry Tiger.
Rory is feeling anxious. It's show-and-tell tomorrow at school and he has nothing to share with the class. But then he meets his very own worry tiger who takes him on a magical journey and encourages him to find his inner calm.
As with The Fire Fox, which deals very gently with grief, The Worry Tiger is extremely subtle in tone. With the focus firmly on the magical adventure, readers are encouraged to breathe and stretch and to enter a state of mindfulness without even realising it.
For me, there is a slight hint of the classic picture book, The Tiger That Came to Tea, in this story, but instead of the tiger invading the home of the child, the tiger takes the child out into the world. However, thanks to the stunning illustrations by Stef Murphy – who this time takes us on an adventure into a vibrant jungle rather than the arctic – I still felt that same sense of awe at the appearance of such a magnificent creature who is both wild and yet completely soothing at the same time. Surely, if a creature famous for its ferocity can enjoy being mindful, then readers can too!
To reinforce the gentle message of the story, the endpapers at the back of the book provide some exercises for mindfulness, reiterating the breathing and the stretching that Rory was taught in the jungle. Yet Alexandra Page's lyrical words and lulling rhyme are relaxing enough in themselves. Perfect for bedtime or for calming worried or hyped-up little ones, this is a truly magical combination of words and pictures.
A big thanks to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for allowing me a review copy. The Worry Tiger is released on 21st July 2022 and is available to pre-order.