cover image Tigerella


Kit Wright. Scholastic, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-590-48171-7

This atmospheric tale of a girl who turns into a sinuous big cat by moonlight achieves a Romantic spirit that might have pleased tyger expert William Blake. During the day, Ella is a polite red-haired child. But after bedtime, ``at the midnight stroke/ ...a changed Ella woke'': from beneath the blankets slinks a silent tiger, the hint of a smile on its face. Tigerella explores the lawn, then leaps into the firmament to cavort among the constellations. Several star formations are introduced in this way-Tigerella floats past the Swan, meets the Bear and is scratched by one of Orion's arrows before she returns to her garden in the wee hours. British poet Wright's sophisticated meters (``And then she was gathering pace through the whispering hay fields/ Running, racing, the beat of her heart in tune/ With the earth...'') make reading aloud something of a challenge on the first run-through, and a certain dramatic flair is required to pull off such exclamations as ``She tossed the stars about!/ Tigerella at play!'' But the strange verse mostly adds to the fantasy element, and Bailey's richly hued yet straightforward illustrations enhance the accessibility. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)