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4.7 out of 5 stars895
4.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 2 June 2005
This classic book is a staunch favourite in our house and has been for years! The drawings are fabulous, the storyline builds to a wonderful climax and the little twist at the end is just delicious. It is simply one of the best books for young children and I have never yet met one who didn't love it once they had met it!
Some books make you sigh when your child asks for it yet again, but this one never does. It is always a pleasure to read for both the parent and the child and I heartily commend it to you as an excellent addition to your collection.
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on 18 November 2001
Both our kids think this book is wonderful. Our daughter, now 5, is a bit old for it now,but adored it at age 2. Our 2 year old son now wants it read to him every night (several times ideally!), and loves to hear about the naughty tiger, and now knows most of it off by heart!
The illustrations, although dated, are very colourful and fun, and remind me of books I had when I was little - a bit of nostalgia!
A very highly recommended book.
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on 1 May 2008
One day, there was a knock at the door of Sophie's house, just as she and her mummy were going to have tea, but the milkman had already come and it was not the day for the boy from the grocer; it could not be daddy because he was coming home a little bit later and he had his keys. Who was the mysterious being at the door? Find out in this book...

This book is wonderful: the illustrations are vivid and bright; the vocabulary range is good for children aged from 4 - 7 and the story line is delightful. It is a truly superb book.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book with my brother (who enjoyed it as well) and would rate it, for myself and on behalf of my brother, 10/ 10.
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on 2 September 2006
I loved this book as a child, and it would be just worth keeping now I'm in my teens just to bring back the memories of those first few years of me being able to read!

I would definitely recommend for any mum who has a toddler - read it to them and I doubt they'd forget it even when they're 30! =P
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on 12 September 2004
...and has rather more than his fair share!
As a result, the evening routine is compromised!

Oh dear!
But...don't worry...all is well at the end!

From the back cover:

'The doorbell rings just as Sophie and her mummy are sitting down to tea.
Who could it possibly be?
What they certainly don't expect to see at the door is a big furry, stripy tiger!'

'The multi-million selling picture book no childhood should be without.'

Durable board covers open to 28 high quality shiny pages in the popular 2-page spread format.
Brilliant illustrations, from Ms Kerr, this super read-with-me story is further enhanced by meaningful facial expressions.

Clear easy-to-follow text.

Example of text:

'Once there was a little girl called Sophie, and she was having tea with her mummy in the kitchen.
Suddenly there was a ring at the door.

Sophie's mummy said,
"I wonder who that can be.
It can't be the milkman because he came this morning.
And it can't be the boy from the grocer because this isn't the day he comes.
And it can't be Daddy because he's got his key.

We'd better open the door and see."...'

On the doorstep is a big, furry, stripy tiger...who is terribly polite.
And as he asks so nicely...if he can have tea with Sophie and her mummy...the latter agrees.

So the tiger comes into the kitchen and sits down at the table...but he is a VERY hungry tiger...and a very thirsty one, too...as we turn the pages!

A repeat element on the quantity the friendly tiger eats promotes that all important eagerness for the younger listener to join in with, giving lots of scope for interaction.
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on 14 July 2007
I loved this book as a child. I remember having it read to me at school when I was very young, so it was one of the first on my list to buy when I had children. They love it too! The story is simple. A tiger turns up unexpectedly at the door and eats Sophie and her mummy out of house and home! Daddy comes home, there is no tea so they go to a cafe and have sausages. A lovely length for a bedtime story. Recommended!
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on 24 June 2004
I have just read this book with my year 1 class (ages 5 and 6). They were very keen to share some of their responses on this website.
Reece wrote: This story is about Sophie and her Mummy. The book is excellent and I loved it. When you read it you will never believe how good it is. Children from 3 to 7 would enjoy it.
Yvonne wrote: This book is for children from 4 to 9. The illustrations are fantastic. The story is about a young girl, her mother and a tiger who comes to tea! I would recommend the book because the pictures are fantastic and colourful. Make sure you read it to the end because it is fantastic!
Kango wrote: I would recommend this story because the drawings of the tiger were very good. I loved the text because it was funny and exciting.
Isabelle wrote: This book has lots of little details in the pictures. I liked the part where the tiger comes into the house. It's a little bit scary!
However Tibo felt that the dramatic potential of the story wasn't fully realised. He wrote: I recommend this book because of the good pictures but I expected a tiger would make the story a little more adventurous.
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on 4 October 2015
Judith Kerr tells the delightful picture book story for the under-5s of a tiger who invites himself to tea with Sophie and her mother and eats them out of house and home before leaving, never to return. The story is told in the third person from the point of view of an omniscient narrator. But as we shall see the story is really Sophie’s story. It is Sophie’s imaginative interpretation of what we may suppose “really happened”. It is told in her language and within the limitations of her understanding.
Through the “willing suspension of disbelief” as Coleridge described the phenomenon by which a reader enters into the imaginative world of a writer, the notion of an English speaking tiger being invited into someone’s home and consuming a large quantity of food and drink is perfectly reasonable and acceptable. It is, however, a basic tenet of all fiction that the world created by an author should be logically coherent. The reader must be able to recognise that what happens in the story is possible within the parameters of the story if not in actual reality. Anything not consistent with the internal logic of the story is either a mistake or a clue to something else going on. There are several such “mistakes” in The Tiger Who Came to Tea. But these mistakes turn out, on closer inspection, to be authorial clues, first to the fact that the story is the product of Sophie’s imagination and, secondly, to enable the reader to reconstruct, partially at least, the story behind the story. The events in the story if told from the mother’s point of view would have been rather different, and mundane.
The first clue that all is not what it seems occurs when it is said that the tiger drank “all the water in the tap”. This strange expression can be interpreted to mean simply that the tiger drank a large quantity of tap water directly from the tap in the kitchen sink. However, after the tiger has left and Sophie is preparing to have her bath it is stated that she couldn’t have a bath because “the tiger had drunk all the water in the tap”. This is clearly impossible. There would only have been no water if the local water authorities had turned off the supply but there is no reason to suppose this to have been the case. In the child’s imagination it must have seemed as though the tiger had drunk so much that there could not possibly be any water left for a bath.
The second clue is a visual one. Daddy decides that the family should go to a local café to eat. Sophie is already dressed only in her nightdress ready to go to bed, but instead of putting her day clothes back on, she merely puts a coat over her nightdress and a pair of wellingtons to go out on what appears to be a chilly autumn evening. This is too improbable to make sense. It is a clue that the visit to the café occurs only in Sophie’s imagination. There is further evidence for this when we are told that the meal consisted of “sausages and chips and ice cream”. This is a child’s idea of a “lovely supper” but does not seem a likely menu for a family dinner. This is the third clue.
The fourth clue occurs the following day. Sophie and her mother go shopping and among the items they purchase is “a very big tin of Tiger Food”. Of course, there is no such thing. If it were possible to buy a tin of tiger food from the supermarket or corner shop, it would imply that semi domesticated tigers are a commonplace in the world created by the author but that would undermine the basis on which the story is founded, viz. that a tiger coming to tea is unique and surprising.
The other clues are, first, the language used which is clearly a child’s way of speaking, for example, “Daddy’s beer’; the frequent use of the conjunctions “and” and “but”, and even the onomatopoeic “Owp!” Secondly, there are pictures that do not fit the text of the story. Before the story even begins we see Sophie riding on the back of the tiger in broad daylight. This does not happen in the story but indicates what the child imagines.
From the clues the author has provided we may suppose that what really happened was that a stray cat came to the door – perhaps the one in the picture of the family walking to the café that looks like a miniature tiger – and they let him into the house and fed him. This simple incident was exaggerated into Sophie’s imaginative story. The tin of tiger food is just a tin of cat food, in case the creature came back. The pictures where Sophie is showing affection to the tiger perhaps indicates that she is lonely as an only child and perhaps with few friends.
If there is a hidden message in the story, it is definitely not aimed at children. There is no authorial voice saying more or less explicitly, “You should behave like the good little girl in my story”. The message is perhaps aimed at the grown ups and is, “Don’t inhibit children’s gift of imagination”. The parents in the story accept Sophie’s version of events without quibble. Reality can wait.
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on 31 May 2014
I bought this after reading the online reviews, and whilst looking for some "older" books for my 2 year old daughter. She ignored it completely for the first two months she had it, then suddenly, just before she hit 2.5, she LOVES it! So much so, she randomly parrots lines from the book in the car, over lunch, and at other moments when something reminds her of Sophie or the tiger! Well worth the purchase for any young children in your life. My daughter refers to the author picture on the dust cover as "grandma" too....just quietly, my Mum has glasses, and that's where the similarities end....but it gives us a laugh :) Very few books are a pleasure to read for both adult and child, but this is one that ticks both boxes.
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on 15 June 2006
Imagine one day having afternoon tea with mummy (you are 3-7) and there's a knock at the door. Who could it be???? yes its a Tiger! and a very friendly tiger who is very hungry and eats and drinks everything in the house.

What do you do now? how will you feed Daddy when he comes home from work?

Daddy comes home to the story and decides to take you to a cafe for tea! how wonderful and the next day you go shopping to replace all the food and drink, what do you buy? A big can of Tiger Food thats what.

I read this book over and over when I was a child and loved it. I came across it a couple of years ago and bought it for my daughter, then aged 2. Who has come to love it as much as I did.

She does tell everyone though, that its my favourite book.........
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