Fuse 8 n’ Kate: A Tiger Called Thomas by Charlotte Zolotow
Older holiday books for kids have a tendency to be a bit on the white side. So I was thinking I was pretty slick when I came up with A Tiger Called Thomas for today’s discussion. But here’s the thing; I thought the version illustrated by Diana Cain Bluthenthal was the only one out there. I was unaware that this book hadn’t just been re-illustrated once but has FOUR different artists! Just to make all of this clear from the start, the four versions we’ll be discussing are:
A Tiger Called Thomas by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Kurt Werth (1963)
A Tiger Called Thomas by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Catherine Stock (1988)
A Tiger Called Thomas by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Diana Cain Bluthenthal (2003)
A Tiger Called Tomás by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguéns (2018)
Kate didn’t expect a heartwarming Halloween story, but we managed to find one.
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– This is not the first time I’ve gone into my William’s Doll rant. You can read the piece The Case for Re-Illustration for my full thoughts. I don’t mention it in the podcast but I think the real difference here is publishers. William’s Doll came out with Greenwillow. Thomas, in contrast, was originally published by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co., then by Hyperion, and now by Sourcebooks. It bounces around!
– A nine or ten-year-old Tomás in the most recent version of the story:
– Here is Kate’s tattoo. And I, for one, appreciate her appreciation of sparrows.
– Candy apples. I mean, how would that even work? You drop them in your bag and then everything sticks to them? Clearly this woman has never done Halloween before.
– Continuing the neighborhood tradition of baked goods, the pumpkin cookies:
– And finally, more with the baked goods! What is going on?!?
– If for no other reason, this note at the end of the book is a great addition:
– A younger looking Thomas. Possibly seven or eight years of age.
– This is very interesting, and I don’t think I would have noticed this. As Kate correctly points out, there’s a two-page spread of no text found only in this version of the story.
– We’d put the age of Thomas at age five in this version.
– Your call. Is this or is this not a poodle?
– A mildly resentful Thomas, looking a bit older than some subsequent versions. Say, eight or so.
– The many fashions of teenaged Gerald.
– The old mustached man a.k.a. the Farrah Fawcett of facial foliage.
– Has a purely Photoshopped book ever won a Caldecott? I call upon you, my readers, to help me come up with the answer to this.
– The Slytherin Pigeon or, as Brooke called it, The Slygeon.
– Here are some of the lovely cakes I was not allowed to eat.
– Here are the trolls that Kate saw at the Morton Arboretum.
Filed under: Fuse 8 n' Kate
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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