I am a tiger, who am I scared of? 《我是老虎我怕谁》 is the name of this lovely picture book by Wang Zumin 王祖民 and Wang Ying 王莺. Tiger isn’t a very nice animal. He’s big and strong and as the king of the animals (well, in his own opinion, at least) he doesn’t need to be considerate or nice to anyone.
He wrestles Lion, steals Bear’s bike, and gets into fights with Elephant and Crocodile. Not to mention what he does to the smaller animals … But when it’s time for his birthday party no one shows up to celebrate, and suddenly Tiger isn’t so smug anymore. And when he steps on a twig and hurts his foot and all the other animals laugh – well, it’s just not fun to be Tiger. In the end it’s Mouse who comes to the rescue, and Tiger decides to change his ways.
Wang Zumin’s illustrations are simple but forceful. The images are full of energy. Tiger is big and strong and fills the page when he’s fighting and bullying the others. But when no one comes to his party he’s suddenly a very small tiger looking sad and alone next to his birthday cake. The red seal that’s stamped on every spread accentuates the way that the illustrations, with their bold brushstrokes and empty white spaces, actually refer back to Chinese traditional paintings.
The bilingual book (translated by Michael Ingle and Shaomian Deng, ISBN 9781784591229) is published by Xanadu Publishing, and so far it’s not easy to find it in bookstores. Let’s hope the publishers will do what they can to make it more readily available to potential readers.
UPDATE: Copies of this book may be ordered via email firstname.lastname@example.org