Wednesday, February 24

The Dancing Tiger

The Dancing Tiger
By Malachy Doyle
Illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Francher
Picture Book
Suggested age: 2-4 yrs

This is an elegant and magical story of a little girl who spies a tiger dancing in the woods under moonlight. The night-time illustrations are dreamy and dark.

The girl surprises the gentle tiger one night but as long as she keeps his secret, they'll dance together. That's just what they do, gracefully dancing through the seasons, which I particularly liked. At the end, she is now a great-grandmother and introduces her great-grandchild to the magic of the tiger's dancing.

“If you will keep my secret,
And never tell a soul,
Then you may come and dance with me
On nights the moon is whole”

The rhyme goes a long way to engage my (20 month old) girl's attention, and she does love tigers and moons.
So once a month, from then till now,
I've tiptoed to the wood.
We've swirled and swayed among the trees,
As tiger said we could.
However, although she reads books for older children, this one is a little on the more sophisticated fantasy side, and the dark illustrations don't offer as much contrast and detail as little one's prefer.  She enjoys it well enough, but doesn't request it. So I agree with the general recommendation that it's suited to 2+ year-olds.

It's a sweet story that supports imagination and bonds of friendship and kinship. It's actually quite powerful in a very understated way. I'm surprised that there aren't more reviews on or Our copy indicates it was the 2005 Silver Award winner for the Nestle book prize.



  1. Looks lovely. Think Aoife may enjoy it. She's all into words and rhyming at the mo, so may look it up.

  2. I miss reading tons of picture books daily - my youngest is 10 and will hardly indulge me anymore :)

  3. Oh yeah, forgot to update you on this. I did buy it for Aoife and she does like it when I pick it out for us to read, but doesn't ask for it.

  4. Glad she liked it. I think it's one that can grow with them though. Wildflower seems to enjoy it more a couple months on.

  5. I think my daughter would love this book. It looks like there is a lot of joy and celebration in those pages. Great illustrations too.

  6. She might enjoy Giraffes Can't Dance, or my all time favourite, "No matter what".

    I love picture books though, and am currently teaching a set of work from "The Tunnel" by Anthony Browne. Gorgeous pictures.

  7. Thanks. I've looked at the giraffe one several times. Might be on my wishlist. Will take a look at The Tunnel.

  8. That is so true about the contrasting pictures and colours thing. My girl only started asking for books with pictures not very contrasty in her twos.
    So right now Lboy (2months) is into very contrasted, as in only black and white, lol. I see the progression in a child's development from there.
    My kids looooved Spot books especially because of that I suspect. I hate Spot!!


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