The Tiger’s Egg by Nele Bronner

Book Cover
The Tiger’s Egg by Nele Bronner

today’s children storybook summary is

The Tiger’s Egg

By Nele Bronner

Theme: Acceptance, kindness, love.

Plot: A cranky zoo tiger is forced to take care a chick that had hatched out of an egg he’d found.

Symbolism: The author uses the egg as a symbol for novelty, new beginnings, new ideas, that come to shake a world that has become dull and rigid.


Herman is a big grumpy tiger locked up in the zoo, where he spends his days watching the gnu and the kudu fighting to prove who’s stronger. One day, Herman was laying on the rooftop of his den when an egg fell of the sky right between his front paws. The tiger was puzzled because he didn’t see any bird above, and, perhaps, because the egg wasn’t broken as one might expect. Herman decided to take care of the it, knowing that no one would approach a mighty tiger like him to harm the egg, until someone would claim it.

Ad so, the next day Herman made a nest for the egg using straws and his own softest hair. Soon after the egg hatched, with Herman watching it all the way, even helping a little. Out came a tiny bird with big feet that soon started to chirp. Guessing that the bird may be hungry, Herman set out to catch warms, grasshopper, and other insects, to feed the baby bird, all the time, guarding his secret against chatty monkeys or other zoo cohabitants.

Soon, the bird felt strong enough to get out of the nest. The chick, thinking he’s a baby tiger because the yellow color of the feathers, demanded to go hunting with the big tiger. When Herman said no, because of danger of being eaten off by bigger zoo creatures, the bird asked the tiger to teach him how to let out a terrible roar that would scare off all the other animals.  And they practiced together, until Herman had to go to find more insects.

As soon as Herman left, the baby bird wondered off the nest, and down the alley towards the pelican’s cage. The Pelican which was waiting with its beak open ready to snatch the chick. Herman, who was just returning from his hunt, covered his eyes in fear for the little bird, blaming himself for the false confidence he had instilled into the baby bird. The pelican would sure eat the chick. But the baby bird let out a loud tweet at the pelican then turned around and run away before the big bird could reach him.

Back in the tiger’s den, the bird took pride in his bravery and the great “roar” that had scared off the pelican. Herman, who didn’t want to break the magic, decided to let the baby bird believe he’s a tiger one more day. Tomorrow, thought Herman, he would tell the baby bird the truth.

Characters: Herman, a zoo tiger; a baby bird, with big feet but without a name, the gnu and the kudu


Nele Bronner, a graphic artist from Germany, is the writer and illustrator of this book. Her art is colorful, funny, joyful. The illustration is much more than a simple supplement to the text. Through details, colors, face expression, she tells a wordless story that further enhances the narrative.  One can almost see the tiger’s thoughts or feel the heat of the sun in the illustrated pages of the book.

Recommended Age: 5 to 8

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Things to Learn

Gnu and Kudu belong to the Antelope species and they both live in the African savanna. There are a few small differences between the two, mostly insignificant. The Gnu is also known as the wildebeest.

Medal/Awards: Nele Bronner was awarded the Serafina Prize for young talent in children literature.

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