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The Tiger Who Came to Tea

tiger full coverJudith Kerr
Harper Collins                                         
Age 3-7

First published in 1968, this story has become a popular picture book classic. It tells the surreal tale of a tiger who calls at a little girl called Sophie’s door waiting to be fed. With gentle humour and repetitive language this is a very suitable book for developing readers.





Share the story

Read aloud

If you can, start  reading the book to your child without showing the cover picture or title, pause when Sophie’s mother wonders who is knocking at the door and encourage your child to have some guesses too. ‘Who do you think is at the door…could it be granny or the next door neighbour? Maybe it’s….’

Join in

Read the story with your child more than once and on your second or third reading encourage your child to join in with the parts about what the tiger ate. ‘But the tiger didn’t eat just one bun….’ Don’t worry if your child seems to be remembering the story rather than reading word for word, understanding and enjoying the story is more important than getting every word right.

Talk about the story
The idea of a tiger coming to tea is very funny, you could talk about what you would do if the tiger called at your house, what would you feed him?

This story, written over 40 years ago, portrays a now quite dated version of family life with a Mum at home and a dad who goes to work. You might want to talk about who does which jobs in your family or in other families you know. There are other differences to talk about as well such as the idea of a milkman calling at the door, much less common now than it was in the 60s.

Watch the story

From Darren Robert McTurk


Things to make and do

Story play
Have a tea party for a tiger with toys as the tiger and other guests. Or your child might like to pretend to be the tiger and wear a tiger mask, see below. If you don’t have a toy tea set or a picnic set you could use paper cups and plates.

You could make buns or small cakes for the tea party. Cooking together provides a great opportunity for maths and science learning – by weighing ingredients and talking about what happens as you mix ingredients and bake your cakes.

Play a word game
Make up a word memory game like ‘I went to market and I bought’ about a tiger coming to tea:
A tiger came to tea and he ate one sandwich
A tiger came to tea and he ate one sandwich and two buns…..

Make a mask
Print off the tiger mask template provided  and give to your child to colour in with felt pens or crayons. Your child could wear the mask and pretend to be the tiger who came to tea.

Paint a  picture of a tiger
Using crayons or paints and a large sheet of paper your child could paint a big picture of a tiger.

Find out more

Read more books by author/illustrator Judith Kerr
our child might enjoy her series about a tabby cat called Mog, including these popular titles:

Mog the Forgetful Cat

Mog’s Christmas

Mog and the Baby

If you enjoyed this story you might enjoy sharing How to Hide a Lion by Helen Stephens too.

Find out about real tigers here and here.

Buy here