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*Raj the Bookstore Tiger* by Kathleen T. Pelley, illustrated by Paige Keiser
 
Also illustrated by Paige Keiser:

Two Hands to Love You
Raj the Bookstore Tiger
by Kathleen T. Pelley, illustrated by Paige Keiser
Ages 4-8 32 pages Charlesbridge February 2011 Hardcover    

Raj is an orange cat with brown stripes, but his owner, Felicity Fotheringham, has him convinced hes a tiger. He walks proudly around her bookstore like a tiger; he entertains the kids at story time as a tiger; he even sings to himself, Im a tiger! Im a tiger! Im a tiger!

Fortunately, there is one way Raj differs from a tiger: he lets people pet him. Rajs tiger-like behavior changes, though when he meets the white cat named Snowball. He takes one look at Raj and tells him, Youre not a real tiger. In fact, youre just a plain old marmalade kitty-cat with muddy brown splotches that some people might call stripes.

Fearing Snowball may be right, Raj disappears under the furniture. When his owner sees him peeking out from under her chair, she begins to read a poem: Tyger! Tyger! burning bright/In the forests of the night. The power of these words is healing to Raj. Believing he can be a tiger again, Raj confronts Snowball at the bookstore. He ignores the taunts, instead directing Snowballs attention to a book; there is a picture of a white tiger inside. The illustration of how Snowball looks inside this book and how he reacts when he sees a picture of the white tiger exemplifies why reading is so powerful.

The illustrations, rendered in watercolors and colored pencil, are a combination of full-page spreads and circular vignettes with soft edges. The bookstore looks fun, the owner stylish. Paige Keiser, who used cats shes owned as an inspiration for drawing Raj, has perfectly translated the movements and behaviors of a cat in this book. Readers who find books and cats irresistible will find this book irresistible as well.
 


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  Tanya Boudreau/2011 for curled up with a good kid's book  






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