• Picturebook Snob

Fascinating chats with fantastic beasts

Interview with a Tiger and Other Clawed Beasts Too by Andy Seed and Nick East, Welbeck Publishing

What's it about?

Author Andy Seed has invented a device called the Tranimalator which allows him to speak to animals (you can see a video of this machine in action here). Andy has recorded his conversations with a variety of clawed creatures and Nick East has created artist's impressions of each one.

What can we learn?

Interesting and incredible facts about ten wild animals as well as advice about protecting endangered species and the environment. This book also highlights the harm caused by humans as every creature mentions damage we have done either to their habitats or to them directly.

What makes this stand out? Information is presented in the form of humorous interviews so this is as much fun to read as it is educational. The witty remarks and answers make the bite-sized facts easily absorbed and memorable. Fabulous illustrations breathe even more life into the animals and elevate the comedy.

About those illustrations...

They're amazing! I love Nick East's animated and funny artwork. Like the text, the images give the animals plenty of personality and enrich their amusing characteristics. The facial expressions are priceless and we love all the speech and thought bubbles and the stand-offs between some of the specimens. The illustrations and the attractive cover are perfect for enticing those less enthusiastic about reading to pick up a book.

Why we love it...

I've learned lots from this book myself - most of the information was new to me. It's fascinating seeing which creatures are enemies and why, and the "how to" sections with step-by-step guides to hunting prey. It's wonderful to see lesser-known and mysterious beasts like honey badgers, armadillos and sloths.

I love the rapport between Andy and his interviewees, and their sarcastic remarks. The evasive and playful replies of the animals are brilliant. When the Tiger is asked if she is her cubs' mother, she responds with, "well I'm not their bus driver." All the creatures have distinct voices and idioms which really suit them and are often riotous, such as the giant anteater's surfer-dude slang. I love that the tiger's favourite band is Def Leppard but I think my favourite is the wise-cracking sloth.

I thought this would be more suitable for my almost-six-year-old as the recommended reading age is age 6 and upwards. She does enjoy it, but it really captivated the imagination of the almost-four-year-old. I've had difficulty sitting down to write this review as every time the almost-four-year-old sees me with Interview with a Tiger, she insists we read it again. She particularly enjoys asking the animals her own questions, chatting to them herself and pretending they are talking to each other.

Why you need it...

Interview with a Tiger helps children to feel more connected to nature and interested in conservation. Turning endangered animals into colourful characters encourages young people to feel an affinity with, and be more protective of, these creatures and their homes. Animal fans will adore it and it's bound to inspire all readers to engage with, and take better care of, wildlife and the environment.

This is enormously entertaining, fantastic for emerging and reluctant readers, an excellent classroom resource and a super addition to any bookshelf. Interview with a Tiger is an ideal companion for long journeys and a great book to dip in and out of when on holidays. As it's an attractive hardback, it would also make a gorgeous gift. Andy Seed may have risked his life to conduct all these question and answer sessions, but I'm very glad he did!

About the author:

Andy Seed is a former teacher turned writer and poet, and the award-winning author of several books for adults as well as for children. Two of his greatest passions are cheese and table tennis, which he feels certain could be combined some day. Andy loves visiting schools and is currently available for virtual visits.

About the illustrator: Nick East is a museum designer as well as the illustrator of many runaway successes such as Toto the Ninja Cat by Dermot O’Leary, Goodnight Spaceman by Michelle Robinson, Don't Wash This Bear by Sam Hay and Nick East, Simon Sock by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet and the Knock Knock series by Caryl Hart.

Interview with a Tiger and Other Clawed Beasts Too was published by Welbeck Publishing in September 2020 - see this book on the author's website

The sequel to this riveting book, Interview with a Shark and Other Ocean Giants Too, is coming in May - we can't wait!

Watch a video of Andy Seed operating the Tranimalator

Read a review of Don't Wash This Bear by Sam Hay and Nick East Read a review of Simon Sock by Sue Hendra, Paul Linnet and Nick East

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