Brain Pickings

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild: A Charming Modern-Day Fable about Authenticity and Acceptance

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Exorcising our repressed selves’ longing for freedom through lovely vintage-inspired illustrations.

Lovers of exceptional picture-books will be instantly enamored with Mr. Tiger Goes Wild (public library) by Caldecott Honor artist Peter Brown — a charming modern-day fable about authenticity, daring to be different, and the often challenging quest for acceptance. Witty, wise, and full of Brown’s vibrant, vintage-inspired illustrations reminiscent of Charley Harper and The Provensens, it tells the story of a very proper Mr. Tiger who finds himself suffocated by social mores and, one fine day, decides to go wild. To craft the book’s distinctive, expressive sensibility, which bears a certain kinship to D. B. Johnson’s recently admired children’s adaptation of Thoreau’s philosophy, Brown blends watercolor, ink, pencil, and digital with a masterful sensitivity to color and texture.

On his Facebook page, Brown shares this lovely page of his sketchbook — a fine addition to the private sketchbooks of celebrated artists and designers — showing the very first Mr. Tiger drawing he made when he first began working on the book, followed by some character development sketches:

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild is just as delightful as it appears to be. It comes on the heels of Brown’s 2012 collaboration with author Aaron Reynolds, Creepy Carrots.

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