Never Trust a Tiger
retold by Lari Don; illustrated by Melanie Williamson
2012 (Barefoot Books)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
A merchant is traveling to market, hoping to sell his spices. He comes upon a hole where a tiger is located. The tiger begs and begs the merchant to help him out of the hole. Being kind-hearted and admiring the tiger's beauty, the merchant drags a fallen tree to the hole to help the tiger. When the tiger escapes from the pit, he is very grateful to the merchant and shows his gratitude by leaping on the merchant and threatening to eat him. Tiger gratitude apparently doesn't stretch very far. This seems quite unfair to the merchant, who complains so much that the tiger cannot eat him in peace. Being a good negotiator, the merchant asks that another living being decide whether it is fair for the tiger to eat his rescuer. The merchant argues that a good deed should not be followed by a bad deed, while the tiger thinks the opposite. An ox wanders by and is drawn into the argument. The ox's point of view is favorable to the tiger. He argues that after a life of service to his master, the ox will be slaughtered in the end and therefore a good deed can be followed by a bad deed. Trying to avoid being dinner, the merchant asks for a second opinion. A nearby tree states that good deeds should be followed by good deeds. He uses his relationship with birds as an example. With both the merchant and the tiger having an advocate, it is up to a hare to break the tie. His argument is the most surprising of all.
Never Trust a Tiger would be a great addition to a folklore unit. You could also teach character traits with this book. I like the humor of this story. My second grade class enjoyed the read aloud as well.