Raj the Bookstore Tiger


Raj is an orange cat with brown stripes, but his owner, Felicity Fotheringham, has him convinced he’s a tiger. He walks proudly around her bookstore like a tiger; he entertains the kids at story time as a tiger; he even sings to himself, “I’m a tiger! I’m a tiger! I’m a tiger!”

Fortunately, there is one way Raj differs from a tiger: he lets people pet him. Raj’s tiger-like behavior changes though when he meets the white cat named Snowball. He takes one look at Raj and tells him, “You’re not a real tiger. In fact, you’re just a plain old marmalade kitty-cat with muddy brown splotches that some people might call stripes.”

Fearing Snowball may be right, Raj disappears under the furniture. When his owner sees him peeking out from under her chair, she begins to read a poem: “Tyger! Tyger! burning bright/In the forests of the night.” The power of these words is healing to Raj. Believing he can be a tiger again, Raj confronts Snowball at the bookstore. He ignores the taunts, instead directing Snowball’s attention to a book; there is a picture of a white tiger inside. The illustration of how Snowball looks inside this book and how he reacts when he sees a picture of the white tiger exemplifies why reading is so powerful.

The illustrations, rendered in watercolors and colored pencil, are a combination of full-page spreads and circular vignettes with soft edges. The bookstore looks fun, the owner stylish. Paige Keiser, who used cats she’s owned as an inspiration for drawing Raj, has perfectly translated the movements and behaviours of a cat in this book. Readers who find books and cats irresistible will find this book irresistible as well.

If you would like to win this picture book, send me an email with a photograph attachment of your own cat (or a favourite cat) to [email protected]