Tuesday, 30 September 2014

A Tiger Tale by Holly Webb

‘I just keep thinking about him,’ Kate’s mum smiled. ‘The stupidest things. Like him always complaining that the tea wasn’t strong enough.’
Published by Scholastic in September 2014
Pages – 109
Summary
Kate loves her toy tiger, Amos. He was a present from Granddad, and holding him close makes Granddad seem less far away.
But she doesn’t expect Amos to turn into a real tiger! A big, comforting, friendly tiger who looks a bit like Granddad, and sounds like him too.
*******
I feel like I’ve been spoilt, as this is one of two reviews this week, for  books written by Holly Webb. If anyone can set me adrift on a sail boat to my childhood, it is most definitely Holly Webb. Her writing has a natural classical feel to it, with aromas of Enid Blyton escaping from each paragraph.
I adored this book, even though it did make me cry. In this beautifully, poignant tale, Kate is struggling to cope with the death of her beloved, Grandfather. She misses him so much and worries that her Mum will wipe out all traces of him from her life. Luckily she still has Amos to remember him by,  the toy tiger he once gave her. However, Kate’s grief filled mind is playing tricks on her and she is convinced that her Grandfather has sent a real life tiger to help her through her grieving process.
This book brought a lot of strong memories back for me. I can remember losing my great grandmother, who lived across the road from me when I was young. It reminded me how I kept all my grief to myself as I didn’t want to upset my parents or my grandmother by talking about it. In this book, we witness Kate doing the same. She doesn’t feel she has anyone to share her grief with. So she keeps it all bottled up, until eventually it all explodes out of her. She also struggles to see how she can ever be happy again, when she has lost someone so central to her life. It made me realise how important it is, for children to be able to talk about their loved ones that have passed. Even if a parent finds it hard to discuss with their child, they should always make sure there is someone there who could help the child learn how to grieve.
I think the author, has dealt with the difficult subject of death and bereavement extremely well. Although their were parts that made me feel sad, I don’t think this book came across as morbid or depressing. If anything, it felt enlightening to see a child learn how to cope and move on.
This book would be an ideal gift for a child who has recently lost someone they love deeply, as it gives the child  a starting point on being able to talk about it, open up and learn to carry on in life without them, but not having to forget about them.

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