Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild Blog Tour

Back in July I attended the Choice Literacy writing retreat and Jen Vincent shared that she had a copy of Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown. She asked if I’d like to read it and I answered with a resounding yes. I think Brown is brilliant and this book confirms that belief. I loved the story of Mr. Tiger. I loved how proper he was until one day he gets a crazy desire to walk on all fours instead of his two back legs. Then he really lets loose, roars a bit, and removes his suit. Mr. Tiger’s relaxed attitude ends up giving him a bit more balance to his life, and I love it.

When Jen asked me to be part of Mr. Tiger’s blog tour, she asked if I had any connection to Mr. Tiger. Was there a time in my life that I had been a bit wild? What was the result of that? Honestly, I had to think a bit.
My stand-in tiger, Bally.

I’m pretty similar to Mr. Tiger at the start of the book. Well, I don’t like to wear suits – or any “dressy” clothing, but I’m pretty reserved. I’d say I could be described as shy. I don’t like to take chances. I tend to be more anxious and like to play things safe.

In March of 1993, however, I was a freshman in college. Some friends and I went to Panama City Beach, Florida for Spring Break. While there I noticed there were several places you could bungee jump. I mentioned in passing that I’d love to try that. I clearly remember one of the people with us scoffing at that comment and saying I’d never do it. That was all that I needed to hear.

I may be timid, but I’m also extremely stubborn. I became determined to bungee jump before we returned to Illinois. One day in the late afternoon we drove over to the location. Walking over to the crane, my heart was pounding in my chest. I remember signing the liability waiver, being strapped into a harness, stepping into the platform for the crane, and soaring upwards.

The operator told me we were ten stories in the air. I looked down at an air mattress that said, “Now you know Jesus.” I felt sure I couldn’t do it. He told me he’d hold my hands, I could lean back and he’d let go for me. That seemed reasonable, so that’s what I did.

In the few minutes it took to get set up, I was sure I’d back out. What in the world was I doing up here? This was crazy. All too soon he was counting backwards from ten. He hit one and I actually let go.

I fell, fell, fell for what seemed like an eternity. When I finally reached the bottom, I sprung back up. That first spring felt glorious. I felt safer for some reason, like I wasn’t actually going to be injured, and proceeded to enjoy the rest of the “trip” until I was lowered to the ground.

Looking back at the experience, I’m glad I did it. Bungee jumping is not something most people would ever expect I would do. But by doing it, I proved to myself that I can take risks – and that they can even be fun. I remember feeling strong as I left, confident even, and the smile did not leave my face for hours.

I hope that by sharing Mr. Tiger Goes Wild with my students we can talk about small things we can all do to step out of our comfort zones once in awhile. While I don’t jump off cranes in my daily life, I can make small choices to step out of my comfort zone every once in awhile. Also, I think that this book reminds me not to let fear hold me back. Whether it is public speaking or flying in an airplane – two things that terrify me – when I face my fears I find that I am stronger than I thought and that the chances are worth it.

I think this beautiful book can celebrate taking a chance, but also the differences between us. We aren’t carbon copies of each other, we aren’t all alike. What a good thing that is. 

To celebrate the release of Peter Brown's Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, we have a blog tour scavenger hunt for you! Visit all the blogs listed below to collect 7 letters/characters. Unscramble the letters/characters to unlock the secret phrase. Each blog is giving away three copies of Mr. Tiger Goes Wild courtesy of Little, Brown Books and Jen Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts has a Mr. Tiger Goes Wild prize pack to give away. 

Franki at A Year of Reading
Jen at Reederama
Katherine at Read, Write, Reflect
Laura at LibLaura5
Colby at SharpRead 

Enter to win the chance for one of THREE copies of Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown.
Must be 13 to enter.
Must be a US resident.
We cannot ship books to PO Boxes.
Winners will be announced on September 10th.
Thanks and good luck!

The secret letter for this blog?