Illustrated by Marian Brown.
Published by Pokey Hat, an imprint of Cranachan Publishing, 2020.
Tiger Skin Rug is a magical adventure story, full of excitement and peril. It begins in Scotland. Two young brothers, Lal and Dilip, have recently moved there from India with their family. The brothers are homesick. When they’re not visiting yet another ruined castle with their parents, the boys explore their new home. The house they moved to came fully furnished and the boys are rather alarmed to discover a tiger skin rug in the drawing room.
What’s more, this is no ordinary rug. It comes to life! Dilip is able to communicate with it. It transpires that the tiger cannot rest because he was shot dead by poachers before he had chance to deliver an important message. The boys and their new friend Jenny resolve to help the tiger who promises that, in return, he will take the boys home. Their adventure begins.
The children use their wits and the tiger’s magic to unearth clues and follow up on leads; the mystery of the tiger’s message is brilliantly intriguing. There’s lots of suspense and the children find themselves in a fix on more than one occasion.
Tiger Skin Rug is predominantly set in Scotland and India but the children’s sleuthing also takes them to London and Coventry. I enjoyed how vividly Joan Haig evokes the different locations. Her descriptions of India – the monsoon rain, the bustling city streets and the chaotic bus station – were particularly striking.
The book has strong themes of family and friendship; the bond between the two brothers is especially close and there’s great trust and loyalty between the three children. The book also explores issues around conservation and poaching, highlighting the very real threat to tiger populations. I enjoyed the themes of home and belonging as well.
Tiger Skin Rug is a fast-paced adventure which was lots of fun to read but one which had important underlying messages too.
Suitable for children aged 8+
Thank you to Joan Haig and Cranachan Publishing for sending me this book to review.