Children's Literacy and Reading News Roundup: End of August Edition
Bedtime in the Jungle: John Butler

Louis the Tiger Who Came From the Sea: Michal Kozlowski

Book: Louis the Tiger Who Came From the Sea
Author: Michal Kozlowski
Illustrator: Sholto Walker
Pages: 32
Age Range: 4-8

61TfS6fYsHL._SL500_AA300_ Louis The Tiger Who Came From the Sea is a very fun picture book by Michal Kozlowski. It's a nonsense story about a brother and sister who wake up one morning to find a tiger sleeping in their yard. They can tell, by the way he rolls around in his sleep, and the way he smells of fish and saltwater, that he came from the sea. They name him Louis, and feed him cereal with milk. Eventually, and with much creativity, Ali and Ollie and their parents help Louis to find his way home.

What I love about this book is that it celebrates the ridiculous with a straight face. There's no message, nothing that Kozlowski is trying to teach kids (except perhaps that books are fun). This is a depressingly rare thing in picture books these days, and Kozlowski, illustrator Sholto Walker and publisher Annick Press are to be commended for it.

Kozlowski's writing is highly kid-friendly. Like this:

"What do you think his name is? asked Ollie.

He looks like a tiger named Louis to me," said Ali.

"I think you're right," said Ollie. "You can tell by the white patch on his chin and the way his whiskers tickle his nose."

Of course, right? I think that the funniest bit is when the family makes sea-creature costumes, so that they can lead Louis back to the sea. We have this:

"Ollie was a narwhal, with a big tusk on his head.

Ali was a dolphin, with a long snout.

Mother was a blowfish, with a funny mouth,

and Father was an octopus with six tentacles, because there was not enough material to make eight tentacles."

I laughed out loud at "not enough material to make eight".

Sholto Walker's illustrations suit the tone of the book, with small vignettes on some pages, and full-page paintings on others. Ali and Ollie have a cartoonish feel, but Louis is a gorgeous, realistic tiger. The color palette is mostly muted oranges, blues, and greens, with smooth backgrounds. The family's costumes are hilarious.

The design of the book is nice, too. The words "carrot" and "pumpkin" are in big, orange letters. Other key words are also shown large and in color. This makes it easy to emphasize the words when reading aloud, and will help young readers to see the important words. The phrase "And so they opened the window and could smell fish and saltwater" is shown as a fish-bordered wave, like a breeze passing across the page.

I recommend Louis the Tiger Who Came From the Sea for preschoolers and early elementary school kids, or anyone looking for a laugh. It would make a good classroom or library read-aloud, with engaging illustrations and delightfully dry humor. Louis the Tiger Who Came From the Sea is definitely going on our "keep" shelf. 

Publisher: Annick Press (@AnnickPress)
Publication Date: January 20, 2011
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.