Sophie and the Tiger

What’s the real meaning of ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea’?

What’s really going on in Judith Kerr’s classic children’s book ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea’? Is there a deeper meaning?

Having read it MANY times, and over analysed it, I’m pretty sure it’s not about a Tiger coming to tea…

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‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ by Judith Kerr, published by Harper Collins Children’s Books.

After a bad day of parenting, who hasn’t wanted to blame the tiger for all the things you haven’t done around the house.

And some days, I have certainly fancied cracking open the beers early. Potty training springs to mind. But moving beer o’clock to before all the household chores are done is a clearly risky proposition.

Look at the dad’s face in this picture. He looks a bit like he’s heard this all before. All credit to him, he goes along with it anyway.


6 thoughts on “What’s the real meaning of ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea’?”

  1. Ah now you see I’d be just too full of guilt. I’d be blaming myself, no matter what went wrong! Oh, and following my recent beer brewing antics, I would defo have some home brew in the house!

  2. The tiger represents immigrants – remember this was written after the first wave of carribean immigrants arrived. The writer insinuates that they (immigrants) have come to ‘take all that belongs to us’, thus forcing the occupants of the house (Brits) to seek alternatives. But even as they seek alternatives, they are not desperate/needy – they even buy more food in case the ‘tiger’ returns. He never does – as most Brits subconsciously wish – that immigrants would stop coming in.

    1. I’m not really buying this. Nothing she has ever written or said in public gives the impression she would be racist in anyway. The opposite is rather the case. Try reading Judith Kerr’s children’s book novelisation of her own escape from Nazi Germany as a child and her experiences living as a refugee, “When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit”.

      1. I’m taking it that’s not what the previous poster meant Quite the opposite in fact. Think they mean they see it as an allegory.

  3. I agree with the writer of this post that Sophie’s mum has an alcohol problem, but I think it runs deeper than that. In many of the illustrations, Sophie’s mum is shown to be very young, much to young to have a 5-7(?) year old child, while Sophie’s dad looks like he is well into his 40s. I think Sophie’s mum is drinking to self medicate the stresses of being a child bride and is clearly not coping. The cupboards are empty, the beer is gone, Sophie is dressed for bed (and goes out to the cafe like that) but can’t bath because the tiger has drunk the house dry. Seriously, who lives in a town and yet runs out of water?

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