Tiger Skin Rug by Joan Haig

Published by Cranachan

WHEN I read books generally aimed for children younger than I am, particularly one like this in the eight to 12 range, it always feels a little nostalgic. This is because it was at this time in my life when I really noticed and developed my love of reading, when literature became a large and important part of my life and going to bed with a new book was the best part of any day.

That I believe, is what people should always want for their children, to have something so comforting and exciting to look forward to, but also that will deepen their understanding of new and challenging vocabulary and the world around them.

This is why, when recommending books to people this age, I’m always cautious, as it was such an important stage in my journey with books and may well be for them as well.

I sometimes stick to the books that I read at that age, but I’m aware that with all the new books coming out, it is not wise to neglect more up and coming modern children’s literature written for a new generation of book lovers.

Tiger Skin Rug is one of such book. It amazed me, and most certainly would have if it had been given to me when I was younger. You should never underestimate a good children’s novel’s ability to combine entertainment with education and valuable moral lessons at every turn and this is one of many perfect examples of that.

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The story is focused around the move of the Patel family from India to Scotland and is told from the perspective of Lal who along with his brother Dilip, is less than thrilled about this major change of culture and lifestyle.

Not only does he have to deal with adjusting in a new country, but also with getting by without his friends and home in a place that feels far from welcoming to them.

Lal and his younger brother Dilip soon discover something strange about their new home, a tiger skin rug that beyond being an odd and tasteless choice of decoration, seems to the brothers to be haunted.

This is explained when it comes to life and offers them a prize they couldn’t refuse with a price they might not be able to pay.

If, along with their new friend Jenny, Lal and Dilip can complete the long held quest of the tiger for the time being stuck as a rug, it will take them far away from this place and back home to India.

The fantasy fuelled adventure is filled with magic and beautiful, descriptive language on every page that grips your attention with ease and doesn’t let go.

Despite this constant and charming sense of whimsy through the book, some of the real life themes were actually of more interest to me. One thing I noticed in particular was this idea of a major change in life at a young age, whether you’re living in a different country and the tiger skin rug in your new house comes to life, or trying to make friends and fit in at a new school. This concept of real comfort, positive relationships and stability is one relevant to everyone’s life, and what came to be my favourite thing in this book.