“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” -Aristotle
Grades 2-4, (Ages 7-9) 3.8
Review and Comments
Danger! Tiger Crossing is the first book in the Fantastic Frame series. This exciting story is filled with mystery, interesting characters, and a bit of a Jumanji flavor that will surely attract the reader from the first chapter.
The main character, Tiger, is an interesting boy who thoughtfully observes his surroundings, analyzes clues, and then works to solve problems. And the problems he faces in this adventure are extraordinary. His story begins when his little sister reports that she has seen an orange pig in the backyard. This statement is so unbelievable that Tiger resolves to prove the pig lives in his sister’s imagination. While he is examining the scene, he actually sees the pig in his neighbor’s yard wearing a top hat and a bow tie. He also meets Luna, a neighbor. Tiger and Luna approach things from different angles, but these differences come in very handy as complications present themselves.
Luna and Tiger meet Chives, the orange pig and butler to their reclusive neighbor, Viola Dots. They learn that Viola is an artist who replicates famous original paintings such as: Birth of Venus, and of course Tiger in a Tropical Storm. She has not been out of her house for fifty years since her son David disappeared – into one of her paintings. The painting was displayed in an antique picture frame that is supposed to posses the “hour of power.” That was also the time Chives was spit out of the painting and the relationship between Viola and Chives began.
Tiger is intrigued by Viola’s story and feels compelled to solve the mystery of her son’s disappearance. He unknowingly begins a chain of events when he repairs a clock. That simple repair sets in motion the perfect catalyst for the “hour of power” to repeat itself, and Tiger and Luna are sucked into the painting Danger!
When the two characters regain their senses after their jarring transition, they realize they are in a jungle being stalked by the very tiger they just viewed in the painting. All is not lost however. An unusual teenage boy also in the jungle aids their near escape into a cave. After a very revealing conversation, the children soon understand that the boy who saved them is David Dots. They also deduce that they are in the hour of power and devise a plan to get past the tiger and find the exact location for their return. David stays behind to distract the tiger however, so at the end of the hour Luna and Tiger are back in Viola’s living room, and David is still locked in the painting. Tiger knows he will definitely help Viola get her son back soon, but he needs to be better prepared and that doesn’t happen in this episode.
The illustrations in the book are interesting. They are black and white until Luna and Tiger are sucked into the painting, and then the illustrations have color. When they return to Violas living room the illustrations are once again black and white.
The end of the book includes a section “About the Painting.” This section includes information about Henri Rousseau and interesting information about the painting.
This is a story packed with action that children in the suggested reading level will enjoy. It leaves the reader wanting a resolution and wondering how Tiger will help David return to reality.
People may have concerns about the following sentences.
- “Maggie snapped, sticking out her tongue at me.”
- [David was upset with his mother’s excuses for his little sister.] “But our mom, being our mom, felt the little bubble brain deserved a serious answer.”
- [Tiger’s first impression of Luna] “A Bird Girl who was also a major blabberhead.”
- [The description of one of the paintings in Mrs. Dot’s living room] “There was even one of a naked lady standing in what looked like a giant clamshell.” (The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli)
- [David explains to Tiger and Luna all the different places he has been to since getting sucked into the original painting.] “Don’t tell my mother, but I’ve even spent some time with a lady who hardly had any clothes on.” (The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli)
Tiger in a Tropical Storm (or Surprised!) is the first jungle scene painted by Henri Rousseau in 1891.
- “Fifteen Things You Should Know About Rousseau’s Tiger in a Tropical Storm”
- This site discusses some interesting details about the painting.
- “Painting in the Jungle with Henri Rousseau”
- “Art with Mati and Dada – Henri Rousseau”
Writing and Painting
- If you could enter any painting, what would it be? Why do you want to be in that painting? What would you do?
- Or create an original painting and answer the questions from above.
- “10 Tiger Facts!”
Other books in the Fantastic Frame Series: (Click on the book cover for affiiate link)
Saints Who Where Artists:
- “St. Catherine of Bologna (Abbess and Painter) dabbled in writing, poetry, dancing, and Latin studies, but her forte was painting. She is the patron saint of painters and those who suffer from doubt.”
- “St. Luke (Evangelist, Painter, and Iconographer) A tradition from the sixth century holds that he painted portraits of the Blessed Mother, Peter, and Paul.”
“Helping others is a foundational part of Catholic teaching. It is our obligation and our duty.”
Helping a person in need is good in itself. But the degree of goodness is hugely affected by the attitude with which it is done. If you show resentment because you are helping the person out of a reluctant sense of duty, then the person may receive your help, but may feel awkward and embarrassed. This is because he will feel beholden to you. If, on the other hand, you help the person in a spirit of joy, then the help will be received joyfully. The person will feel neither demeaned nor humiliated by your help, but rather will fell glad to have caused you pleasure by receiving your help. And joy is the appropriate attitude with which to help others because acts of generosity are a source of blessing to the giver as well as the receiver.” – St. John Chrysostom