Never Trust a Tiger: A Story from Korea
. Barefoot Books . Cambridge, MA
PZ7.D7144Nev 2012 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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"This brightly colored book uses six chapters for its single fable. The fable is a traditional one that includes several elements: that desperate victims should not be trusted; that human beings treat animals and plants poorly; that clever friends can get us out of tight places. The artistic style emphasizes "Korean" and creativity. Consider the creative view, for example, of the tiger caught in a pit (6). This version is attentive to the detailed questions one could have about the story. How, for example, does the merchant get the tiger out of the pit? What does the tiger do first when he is out of the pit? Chapter 2 covers the argument between the two when the hungry tiger threatens to eat the merchant. Enjoy the tiger's frontal attack on 16. The merchant argues that one cannot follow a good deed with a bad deed. They will ask passersby to judge whether life is fair or not. Depending on their verdict, the tiger will eat the man. The booklet enjoys humor, too, as on 22 when the tiger, crouching upon the man and waiting for passersby, exclaims "Bother!" The succeeding chapters present the answers of the ox and the tree. To my surprise, the pine tree says that in his experience good follows good. He shelters birds, and birds carry his seeds abroad. The two opinions cancel each other out. The hare, asked to be the tie-breaking judge, supposedly gets confused and has to ask the two to show him how it all happened. Again, the book attends to detail: "Was that tree trunk in the pit then?" Once the tiger is back in the pit without the tree trunk, the hare asks the merchant if he still wants an opinion. The merchant goes away saying he will never again trust a tiger, and the tiger wonders whom he can now get to help him get out of the pit. Good stuff!"