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Tiger Walk

Dianne Hofmeyr, illus. Jesse Hodgson
Otter-Barry Books
Age 5-7

During a visit to an art gallery Tom is fascinated by a painting of a tiger which seems to be watching him. When he gets home, he draws his own tiger picture. That night he dreams the tiger steps out of the picture and takes him on a night-time adventure. Together they travel through jungles, underwater and to icy caves meeting all sorts of animals on the way. Tom is a bit hesitant about these unfamiliar situations but with the tiger’s encouragement confronts his fears and enjoys the experience. So much so that by the end of the book he feels as brave as – a tiger! Perhaps he actually IS a tiger!

Inspired by the famous tiger painting by Henri Rousseau this is an appealing story about overcoming fears. The story is very well written with lovely description and a pleasing pattern and the illustrations are beautiful, making it a great picture book to share.


Share the story

Read aloud

Before you start reading the story aloud talk about the cover and end papers together and what might happen in the story. When you read this aloud to your child it might be fun to whisper the night-time scenes. Spot the animals mentioned together in the illustrations as they appear.

Join in

Children can join in with the repeated ‘I’m a little bit scared of….’  Or alternatively they could be the tiger saying: ‘Tigers aren’t scared of….’ 

They could purr or yawn with the tiger.

Talk about the story

  • Which adventure would your child most like to join in with? Which sounds the most scary?

  • Which illustration do you both like best?

  • Talk about how the little boy changes during the story.

  • Share what you are both a little bit scared of. This is a good opportunity to dispel unnecessary fears and also show everyone feels a bit scared sometimes.

Things to make and do

Draw a tiger
Give your child a large piece of paper and crayons or paints to draw or paint a big tiger. They could look back at the illustrations in the book and re read the description – big pointy teeth, a swishy tail and green jewel eyes.

Move like a tiger
Clear a space on the floor and you could both pretend to be tigers, prowling and stretching, yawning and roaring. Maybe even playing tiger hide and seek!

Make a story setting
Create a small world play environment representing the jungle scene or another scene from the story in a large tray. You could use real or plastic plants, soil, rocks and small stones. Add model tigers and other animals found in the story plus a small human figure to represent the child. Your child can then play with the figures and tell their own version of part of the story.

Write another scene for the story
Where else might the tiger take the little boy on another night-time adventure? Talk together about possibilities eg to a desert, up a mountain or to the seaside. Give your child a piece of A4 paper or card folded in half they could open it out, draw their imaginary scene and write about what happens.

Find out more

Find out more about the painting which inspired the story
Read the information at the back of the book. Find out more here.
If near London you might be able to visit the National Gallery where this painting can be found.

Read more books by Dianne Hofmeyr
See here  titles include:

The Glassmaker’s Daughter with Jane Ray 

Zeraffa Giraffa illustrated by Jane Ray

My Daddy is a Silly Monkey illustrated by Carol Thompson.

Find out about Tigers (including snow tigers) 

  • Use the internet or information books. 

  • This video is a useful introduction

  • Talk about what your child already knows and what they would like to find out. This might be about where tigers live, how big they are, what they eat or how many young cubs they have. If you can, visit a zoo or wildlife park that keeps tigers.

Endangered tigers
Tigers are endangered animals, find out here and here about tiger conservation, and ways your child can help protect them, such as adopting a tiger.