I love reading children’s books and am delighted to be part of the launch celebrations for Tiger Skin Rug by Joan Haig. My enormous thanks to Kelly Macdonald at Cranachan Publishing for inviting me to participate and for sending me a copy of Tiger Skin Rug in return for an honest review.
Published yesterday, 6th February 2020, by Cranachan’s children’s imprint Pokey Hat, Tiger Skin Rug is available for purchase in all the usual places including directly from the publisher here.
Tiger Skin Rug
An old promise. A mysterious tiger.
A magical adventure.
Lal and his brother Dilip miss home. They don’t like drizzle, midges, or the tiger skin rug in their creepy new house. All they want is to leave Scotland and go back to India. But that’s before they make friends with Jenny, and before the tiger comes back to life…
The tiger tells them it will take them home in return for their help: it cannot rest until it fulfils an old promise. Can Lal, Dilip and Jenny help it on its quest? Who is trying to stop them? And will they get back home?
Fly into the night with this fabulous tale of adventure, friendship and what it means to find home.
My Review of Tiger Skin Rug
A move from India to Scotland will lead Lal and Dilip on a huge adventure.
Tiger Skin Rug is a fantastic children’s book and I loved every word. Joan Haig has constructed a magical story of peril and adventure that is completely captivating and any child of any age, never mind the 8-12 year old target range, would enjoy it.
The plot is fast paced and exciting as the children have riddles to solve, enemies to outwit and a tiger’s promise to keep. There’s magical tiger rides, mythology and the more mundane all blended into an enthralling and perfectly balanced story.
The wonderful sense of place, in both Lal and Dilip’s new Scottish home and in the descriptions of India, is so vivid and colourful that I felt transported, and my understanding of India in particular was deepened by Tiger Skin Rug so that I was learning as well as being entertained as I read. The weaving in of conservation and environmental elements is so skilfully done that they enhance the narrative without being heavy handed or obvious, making children aware of what is happening without too much gory detail.
I found Lal such a brilliantly rounded character. His first person account brings the story to life so that I felt I’d really understood him and had grown to love him by the end of the book. His narrative voice is one that children and adults alike will identify with, particularly as he articulates his vulnerability and fears without seeming weak. It was also lovely to have an Indian protagonist in Lal, and a strong female in Jenny, so that friendship can be seen to cross gender and ethnicity.
Joan Haig’s themes in Tiger Skin Rug are perfect too. She explores loyalty and friendship, family and betrayal, and, most importantly, a sense of home, in such an emotive way I found myself shedding a small tear as I finished the book.
Tiger Skin Rug held me entranced. It’s an example of writing for children at its very best and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s brilliant.
About Joan Haig
Joan Haig, born in Zambia, was weaned on avocados and stories. When she was twelve, her family moved to the happy isles of Vanuatu in the South West Pacific. She has lived and travelled all over the world, most recently settling with her husband, children and cats into a little cottage in the Scottish Borders.
Joan has researched and taught at the University of Warwick and University of Edinburgh; her teaching has won awards and her work on migration and belonging has been published in academic journals and edited volumes. She now works for Arcadia University’s Edinburgh Center.
Her writing dream is that her stories for children are enjoyed far and wide -and touch some grown-up hearts along the way.
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