Raj the Bookstore Tiger book cover image

Raj the Bookstore Tiger

  • 1595

By: Kathleen T. Pelley / Illustrated by: Paige Keiser

Hear Raj roar!

Being a bookstore tiger is hard work. There’s much patrolling, and a lot of sitting in laps at story hour, and then there’s sleeping in the window display. But Raj is up to the task. He is fierce and proud—until Snowball comes along. The new cat in the bookstore informs Raj that he’s just a marmalade kitty-cat. Times get tough, then, for the bookstore tiger. But bookstore and Raj owner Felicity, with the help of poet William Blake, knows how to fix things. In turn, with a very special book, Raj is able to fix things with Snowball.

Paige Keiser’s quirky, intimate illustrations invite readers to curl up and share a story—with their own tigers or a friend.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Kathleen T. Pelley, author

Kathleen T. Pelley is the author of Magnus Maximus, A Marvelous Measurer (Farrar Strauss and Giroux), and The Giant King (Child Welfare League of America). Kathleen lives in Greenwood Village, Colorado.

Read more about Kathleen.

Enter Illustrator name here, illustrator

Paige Keiser illustrated The Little Green Pea (Sleeping Bear) and Wow, It's a Cow! (Cartwheel). She lives in Burke, Virginia.

Read more about Paige.

Awards & Honors:

  • Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year

Editorial Reviews:

Kirkus Reviews

Is Felicity's bookstore big enough for two territorial felines? Raj the golden cat imagines himself a tiger as he prowls the busy bookstore where he "works" with owner Felicity, meowing at customers, strutting through storytime and permitting the humans to pet him...occasionally. At night, purring Raj curls up with Felicity in the attic apartment they share over the store. One day, everything changes; store manager Christopher brings persnickety white cat Snowball (who doesn't get along with Christopher's new Labrador puppy) to stay at the story. For a time, a feline feud takes center stage in the store window: Raj tries various hiding places while Snowball usurps his position with customers. Felicity brings out Raj's inner tiger again with a little William Blake, and, similarly, Raj uses a book about India to show Snowball her inner tigress. The two can now prowl the store in harmony. The sophisticated narrative, with its nice streak of irony, suits older picture-book audiences; Keiser's watercolor-and-pencil pictures are aptly clever and low-key. Nice nourishment for the blossoming bookworm.

School Library Journal

Raj, a handsome marmalade cat with a golden coat and chocolate stripes, believes he is a tiger. His owner, Felicity Fotheringham, has given him a real tiger's name and introduces him at storytime as "our very own bookstore tiger." When an employee brings his cat to the bookstore, Snowball quickly becomes the top feline, sprawling and smirking from a child's lap. Worst of all, he says Raj is no tiger, just a plain old kitty-cat. Felicity wisely reads aloud William Blake's tiger poem over and over again, restoring her pet's confidence. The next morning, despite Snowball's hisses and scowls, Raj is his old self again. A visiting author from India calls him a little tiger, and Felicity agrees. With great kindness, Raj shows Snowball a picture of a white tiger in a book, and the two little tigers make the rounds together. Illustrations done in watercolors and colored pencil bring the bookstore and its inhabitants to life. Youngsters will wish they could be part of Felicity's storytime with a marmalade cat in their laps. Raj's self-esteem issues will resonate with youngsters and spark discussions.


Raj is an orange-striped cat whose owner, Felicity Fotheringham, affectionately calls a tiger. Raj spends his lazy days roaming the bookstore that Felicity owns, greeting customers with a welcoming meow or comfortably taking over children's laps during storytime. That is, until an unwelcome cat, Snowball, enters the picture. Pessimistic Snowball laughs at the idea of Raj thinking he is a tiger and bullies him. After Felicity reads a poem to Raj about tigers from India, he learns how to stand up for himself and even convinces Snowball to follow his lead. The calming watercolors and lively facial expressions help bring the characters to life in this engaging read-aloud story. This book teaches young readers about self-esteem, and although the story shows representations of bullies, the sweet ending will leave children with a comfortable feeling.


ISBN: 978-1-5808-9230-8
ISBN: 978-1-58089-231-5

ISBN: 978-1-60734-277-9 PDF
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Ages: 4-8
Page count: 32
8 x 10

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