Gracie Grabbit is going to the zoo with her dad, but she has one problem - her dad's a cheeky robber! She needs to stop him spoiling her day, but how? Luckily, a friendly tiger is on hand to help out - with lots of fun and mix-ups along the way. Painted in Helen's much-loved retro style, and introducing a brand new cast of characters, GRACIE GRABBIT AND THE TIGER is the exciting new picture book from award-winning author/illustrator Helen Stephens.
Working in a Zoo I am always attracted to books with animals on the front. This book captured my attention with a big bold tiger being hugged by a small child. The front of this book gave me the impression that this book was possibly about friendship but definitely had to read it (more than once) to really get an understanding of the message this book tells.
I felt that this book really needed to be read a few times to get a feel for it. There is no rhyme and rhythm. This story quickly told us that Gracie's Dad was a 'naughty daddy' (the word naughty is a word I try not to use with my children). He was a robber which was another concept that I had to explain to my 4 year old. He very rarely sees a negative side to anyone so thought it was all a bit of a joke the Dad was playing on Gracie. On the second page it quickly races through all the things he stole. I felt that this could have been drawn out a little bit more in the story and not all listed on the one page.
Overall I felt that there was a message in this story, even if it was not one of my favourite books. It gave my son and I the opportunity to talk about people that choose to do the wrong thing, and it also allowed us to talk about not copying others, even if it is an adult. It is our responsibility to make the right choices.
Miss 3 loved the front of this book when she saw it. She has a big tiger in her room and she often sits on the tiger and hugs it just like Gracie is doing on the cover. She decided that Gracie and the tiger must be friends as they both look happy. The bold colours used are eye-catching as well and make the book stand out.
I have now read the book several times over the past week. Both Mr 5 and Miss 3 enjoyed it. I thought it was a little strange when I first read it as Gracie describes her daddy as a "very naughty daddy" on the first page. The fact that he is a robber is probably a very good reason for her to call him that, however, I still found it a little strange! As I read the book a few more times, I thought about the fact that there is a good message in the story. It shows that a child can help the adults (or other children) in their lives to better themselves. Children can, and do, make a difference. I remember when my Dad used to smoke cigars and we kids hated it. We stood strong in our opposition to his smoking and after some time, he gave up. Whether we had an influence on that or not, the desired effect was reached. The book shows that children should make their beliefs known and say what they think.
The illustrations are cute and there is lots to look at on each page. The colour yellow is on every page and stands out as it reflects the colour of the tigers eyes and Gracie's hair. The illustrations are a mix of sketchy drawing and bold, strong colours.
For me personally, it wasn't one of my favourite books, however the kids seem to really enjoy it. I guess in the end, it is the reaction of the kids which determines the success of a book.
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