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The tale of the tiger slippers
2019
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Summary
Jan Brett reimagines a powerful Middle Eastern folk tale that celebrates hard work and appreciating your roots.

Set in India, this gorgeous reimagining of the classic Middle Eastern folk tale "Abu Kassem's Slippers" features a poor tiger cub who is a very hard worker. His mother weaves him slippers to protect his feet from stones and thorns, and they allowed him to prosper--first making bricks, then building houses, and eventually becoming very wealthy. He continues to wear them until someone questions why such a prominent person would wear such worn shoes. Feeling embarrassed, Tiger tries to get rid of the slippers, but fate keeps bringing them back.

Finally, Tiger sends them to his uncle, who weeps with pride when he sees the slippers his sister made and his nephew used to accomplish so much. He sets off right away to visit them, bringing the slippers along. Tiger can't believe the slippers are back again, but his little cub gives him an idea: honor the slippers by building a special place for them, to remind him of how far he's come.

Jan Brett's lush, vibrant version of this story will inspire fans of her international retellings to appreciate the hard work that leads to all of their successes.
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School Library Journal Review
K-Gr 2--Brett's latest foray into the world of folklore has readers following a self-made tiger and the slippers that he reverently displays. Though worn and old, the red embroidered slippers were a gift from his mother when they were poor. As the young cub built his wealth, the footwear endured throughout his labors. But after attaining new status, others questioned their appropriateness. Time and time again, he tried to throw them away, and yet, they always came back. Eventually, thanks to his son, who narrates the enveloping narrative, the tiger realizes the inherent lesson in this. You can't throw away your past. That self may no longer be who you are, but it is a part of you, which should be treasured. Brett's retelling of the Persian tale, "Abu Kassem's Slippers," doesn't strictly adhere to the most recognized version, especially in terms of the character. Additionally, this one specifically sets itself in a Mughal court. The lavish textiles and swooping architecture of ancient India look fantastic in this illustrator's finely drawn style. As usual, readers will find a world full of geographically relevant animals living their lives within her triptychs. VERDICT Brett continues to be one of the most revered retellers of classic tales. An automatic purchase for most libraries.--Rachel Forbes, Oakville Public Library, Ont.
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