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It has felt like we’ve been waiting to read this book forEVER. 61Ede8mteQL We have a Bloomsbury calendar at home (nabbed from the bookshop) and the first thing Jess did was look at the pictures for each month. February has Never Tickle a Tiger and Jess was very keen on it. I explained that she’d have to wait until February to see it, which she was fine about. She was not fine that it wasn’t in the bookshop on 1 Feb (or 2nd and so on). But they did arrive at the end of last week. Phew!

Jess was not disappointed. Never Tickle a Tiger is about a spirited girl called Izzy. She’s super active and super cheeky. She jiggles her jelly, she paints with her pigtails and knots her Grandma’s knitting. Her class go on a trip to the zoo and Izzy ignores Miss Potterhurst’s requests to remain calm. She strokes the snakes, bothers the bears and pokes the peacock. Izzy can’t understand why she can’t do all those things.

She decides to go ahead and tickle a tiger – with disastrous results. A conga line of misfortune occurs as the animals bump into each other. The lions roar, the parrots squawk and Miss Potterhurst squeals. Izzy commands everyone to stop and they do – calm is restored. “You were right all along, Miss Potterhurst,” she said.

“I’ll never ever tickle a tiger again.”

(There’s nothing wrong with prodding a polar bear though is there?)

Izzy is mischievous, not downright naughty. Had she been I would have wanted to see her being eaten by the tiger. But she didn’t deserve that.

Jess & Toby liked is because they have a friend called Izzy who is very much like the Izzy in this book – spirited, keen to explore and push boundaries. It’s sometimes challenging to watch her do those things, but we wouldn’t have her any other way.

I liked it because Miss Potterhurst reminded me of my own experiences of taking pupils (thankfully secondary age) on trips and the few challenging children among the many that make you age a decade in a day with their antics.

This one is for all harassed teachers and spirited children – happy almost Half Term!