My latest borrowing from the New York Public Library:
Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!
Written & Illustrated by Scott Morse
Published by AdHouse Books
I find myself wondering if the title of this book borrows from Kipling’s “Tiger! Tiger!,” though the tiger in Morse’s book comes through in significantly better health than Mowgli’s foe. Providing a philosophy on life does tie both stories together, however. Morse’s tiger, looking very similar to the protagonist of his Southpaw book, is actually Morse himself.
Taking the outward form of a children’s book with large dimensions, a sturdy hardcover and colorful pages, Tiger! Tiger! Tiger! provides a window into the inspirations for Morse’s own comics and work. Within these pages, Morse explains and examines his outlook on life, including his ability to “go inside his head” and how daily rituals such a jury duty (the bad ones) and fatherhood (the good ones) support and confirm his philosophy.
Morse’s key to life and creativity is to always keep a place within for the innocence of youth, retain the ability and willingness to daydream, and follow the threads of those mental wanderings to see where they take you and what connections develop between them. It’s not entirely profound and Morse presents his dissertation in form and manner intended for readers of any age, but it’s nonetheless a wise book.
Continuing with his traditionally angular, water colored style, Morse illustrates each page as a whole image, embedded panels throughout that support the structure and overall message. While he and his son appear as tigers, others throughout the book are depicted as humans, caught up in a web of worries and responsibilities.
As he spends his days working at Pixar, it’s no surprise that Morse is supremely effective at pacing pages and breathing unique life into his characters. He balances the internal narration against evocative and impressive renderings that keep the reader engaged on multiple levels.
Tiger! Tiger! Tiger! examines Morse’s ability to disconnect from the world in order to find his creativity. The book is an engaging, enjoyable journey through one man’s philosophical outlook, presented in a large, well-designed hardcover. And, best of all, many readers should be able to find it at their local library, as I did!