The Tiger-Skin Rug
(Written by Gerald Rose, illustrated by Kate Greenaway)
Reprinted after 30 years after it was first published, ‘The Tiger-Skin Rug’ tells the classic tale of an intrepid tiger who longs to swap his hard jungle life for the comfort of the Rajah’s palace. In a moment of brilliance (or insanity!) he decides to replace the tiger-skin rug in the palace. The tiger begins a life of luxury, eating scraps and drinking tea – but how long can he remain undiscovered? Fortunately for the tiger, he has a chance prove his worth when thieves break into the palace and threaten the Rajah. Much to the surprise of the Rajah and his family, the tiger springs out from his rug disguise and scares away the robbers, saving the family and earning his place in the palace.
This book is charmingly written, and is a simple but engaging story sure to capture the imagination of young children (3-7 years). The real brilliance of this book, however, is down to the vibrant and colourful illustrations. Greenaway’s drawings bring the tiger to life, giving him a vivid personality and sense of charisma that goes way beyond what could be described in words for an audience of young children. When reading the book out loud to children, the combination of picture and words work together to create a story that is not only easy to enjoy, but also really quite moving. Although the matter of a tiger-skin rug appears quite controversial, the moral that leaps out from the story (literally) is that a live tiger is definitely better to have around than a dusty rug.
Enjoyable for both adults and children alike, this is the perfect bedtime story and will no doubt become a loved and treasured tale.
- Reading Age: 3-7
Whilst looking for resources and media to support this book I found a report written by Gerald Rose himself, depicting his own personal experience with tigers. His motivation for writing the book is really summed up when he says “I never want to see another tiger skin except on a tiger”. I know it’s a bit hard to read (I couldn’t find a clearer version), but I hope you find it as interesting as I did!
I also came across Harriet Cort’s theatre design website, showing pictures of the tiger puppet/model she created with KS1 pupils based on ‘The Tiger Skin Rug’. She worked with the children on their creative writing, and then used their work to aid the design of the tiger puppet – which they then used to put on a show for the school. I thought this was a great example of cross-curricular learning, and just shows how creative with a book you can be!