Title: The Time Traveller and the Tiger
Written by: Tania Unsworth
Illustrated by: Helen Crawford-White and Laura Brett
Published by: Zephyr
The Time Traveller and the Tiger is a remarkable book about a young girl called Elsie who aspires to be a writer. She goes to stay with her Uncle John where she discovers a tiger skin in the spare room and an exotic flower in the greenhouse..
This book is different from other books in that it is cleverly written from several points of view. The first chapter is from John’s point of view of the inciting incident that sets the story in motion – when he killed the tiger which he regrets. The story continues from the future in Elsie’s point of view until she is transported back in time to 1940 India where Great Uncle John is a boy again. From that point the story is mainly Elsie’s point of view, with intermittent chapters from Mandeep’s and the tiger’s point of view, really getting into the tiger’s head with dramatic effect and in a humorous twist from Sowerby, the antagonist’s point of view and his untimely death. I enjoyed the different points of view and gaining a deeper understanding of the character’s motivations and emotional state.
I was captivated by Great Uncle’s John’s regretful decision to shoot the tiger and carried along with Elsie’s goal to prevent him making the same mistake again, changing both their futures and ultimately saving his brother’s life. Tania’s writing flows easily from scene to scene with realistic dialogue and amusing exchanges. She creates a stunning, colourful world set in India with her vivid and evocative descriptions of the animals and vegetation. These are enhanced by the truly breath taking charcoal illustrations of the Tiger scattered throughout the pages.
The Time Traveller and the Tiger touches on issues of sexism and racism as the attitudes and opinions of the time are perceptively portrayed and expertly balanced by Elsie’s views and feelings of these dated and bigoted opinions.
The timeless message of preserving our wildlife rings loud and true from every page as the plot highlights the plight of the tiger and other endangered species and gives young reader’s options at the end of the book how they can help protect their planet from such species dying out altogether. The timeless message of preserving our wildlife rings loud and true from every page.