READERS' FAVORITE - Honorable Mention in the Reader's Favorite 2020 Award
Award Winning Review
Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
A mouse family lived in an animal refuge park at the end of a friendly forest. Mr. and Mrs. Mouse had seven children and they never had enough food to feed their big family. A tiger lived on the other side of the wall and the mouse children would watch Mr. Tiger being well looked after by the keepers who loved animals. In the Mouse house, the youngest mouse was so small that he was named Tiny by his two sisters and four brothers. Though Mama Mouse told everyone while eating to take their portions, Tiny was always left with crumbs. Tiny was always hungry because he never got enough to eat. He felt hungry looking at the food Mr. Tiger got to eat. His brothers and sisters dared him to go into Mr. Tiger's cage and have some of his food but Tiny's parents told him not to.
Tiny Makes a Friend by Eva Schmidler is a beautiful story of friendship, kindness, compassion, sharing, caring, respect, courage, and dealing with life. The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter focuses on a different thing. The last chapter is all about family, reunion, and separation, and the unique friendship of Toby Tiger and Tiny Mouse conveys important life lessons to readers. The story is heartwarming and the friendship between Toby and Tiny will remain in the hearts of readers for a long time. The author conveys good messages through these two characters, knitting them into the story seamlessly, giving a good pace and fluidity to the action. The book is perfect for tutors and parents to teach children important messages and how to tackle life in its various stages. The character portrayals of Tiny and Toby are real, relatable, memorable, and children of ages will enjoy reading about their unusual friendship. The questions at the end of the book are useful and will help readers reflect on their lives, situations, and circumstances.
******AWARD-WINNING FINALIST, 2017 INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS******
Review by Marisa Rose
Tiny Makes a Friend by Eva Schmidler is a chapter book geared towards early, independent readers. The story is separated into four chapters chronicling the friendship between a mouse, Tiny, and a tiger, Toby, living on a nature reserve. The two start out as strangers and quickly become quick friends after Tiny bravely enters Toby's cage. The rest of the story focuses on the maturation of the unlikely pair as well as the evolvement of their friendship.
The illustrations in Tiny Makes a Friend are subtle and don't serve as the main focus of the book. Rather, the black and white, sketch-like drawings usually take up less than half a page and act as a basic visual aid. The images convey important scenes and characters from the story; however, they are more an accessory to the narrative than an important element of the book. That being said, the ratio between illustrations and wording, along with the illustrator's refrain from childish images is impressive and clearly considers the maturity level of the older audience this book caters to.
The story of Tiny the Mouse and Toby the Tiger is wholesome and engaging. The unlikely pair serve well as a means for conveying messages about friendship, overcoming differences, trust, and the realities of growing up. The topics in this book are nothing new, yet the author provides a more in-depth look at these themes than one would expect to find in a typical picture book. For example, when Toby is going through a particularly rough time with his new handler, the story stresses that by simply listening to Toby's explanation of his problems and trying to empathize with his feelings, Tiny is a great comfort to his friend.
At approximately seventy pages, this picture book is more suitable for young, independent readers or early readers helped along by an adult. The story of Tiny and Toby is followed by a set of twenty discussion questions related to the main themes and events in the story. The author's use of language, illustrations and discussion questions are appropriate for the suggested age of seven to twelve-year-olds; however, some of the subject matter and writing may seem juvenile for readers at the older end of the suggested age range.
Tiny Makes a Friend is a refreshing read that will be enjoyed by children and adults alike. The author does a wonderful job handling the subject matter and illustrations in a more complicated manner than is typical of the genre. For the well-rounded story, simplistically-mature illustrations, and thoughtful discussion questions, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. This book is sure to appeal to young, independent readers wishing to challenge their reading abilities with a beginner chapter book.