Friday, September 13, 2013

Fat cat

Given that he goes from door to door gorging himself without so much as contributing even a token bag of Doritos, it's little wonder that that tiger looks smug. Drinking all the water in the taps is plain weird, but drinking all Daddy's beer? HOW VERY DARE HE!

At first I had the tiger down as freeloading scum preying on hardworking British families, and pondered whether there might be a Coalition crackdown on tigers as part of the assault on benefit fraud and welfare cheats. But actually, as a friend pointed out, it's more like a socialist allegory, with the tiger perfect for the role of the contented capitalist happily taking food out of the mouths of the proletariat. He is, after all, the very embodiment of a fat cat. The only aspect that doesn't really work in this sense is the fact that there's no solidarity - the neighbours don't rally round with provisions, leaving the family to traipse off down to the local greasy spoon. Or could the book even be surreptitiously disseminating an anti-immigration message? "Look what happens when we allow foreigners into the country..."

First published in 1968, the book does now seem somewhat dated and could really do with being freshened up. When the fridge is open, for instance, revealing lettuce, tomatoes and a whole chicken, there's no tub of hummus visible. How's about replacing the grocer's boy with the Ocado delivery man? And the greasy spoon with Pizza Express?

(Proper book reviews have pretty much ground to a halt on this site, but I suspect kids' books may be a fruitful source of posts in the coming years...)

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