Into the tiger's den with Joan Haig

Joan Haig
Our author of the week is Joan Haig!

Joan's book Tiger Skin Rug follows three children on a magical adventure as they fly into the night on the back of a mysterious tiger to help him keep an old promise. Setting off from drizzly Scotland, the children travel to London, Coventry and India as they explore the secrets surrounding the tiger and discover what it truly means to be home.

Read an interview with Joan, watch a video including some fascinating tiger facts and download a fab colouring activity!


Catch up with Joan Haig

Find out what Joan loves about reading, her favourite characters and which book she is hoping to find under the tree this year!

What books did you read when you were a child?

For a long time, I preferred being told stories or read to than reading myself. My mum liked to read us books by Alain and Denise Trez from the early 1960s – quite surreal stories. One of my dad’s favourites was Gus and Buster by Andrew Bronin, about two racoon brothers.

At school we learned to read with a Ladybird book series called Mulenga and Jelita, and at home I loved listening to The Storyteller, which was a cassette tape of stories with a read-along magazine. The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier got me reading for pleasure, quickly followed by a year hooked on The Baby-Sitters Club and Judy Blume.

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?

Which WOULD I be, or which would I LIKE to be? I would LIKE to be the mole in The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy: that would make me wise and worldly, full of kindness and cake. In real life I suspect I am more like Charlotte from Jenni Spangler’s The Vanishing Trick: sceptical, protective and generous at heart, but not always willing to conform in the way others would like.

What is the best thing about reading?

Reading is so powerful. It transports us to different places in our world – and to different worlds – and allows us to walk in other people’s shoes. What I love most about reading is the company it provides. Not only because books are filled with wonderful characters that I can visit whenever I like, but because I don’t feel alone if I have a good book to read.

What is your all-time favourite book?

It is impossible for me to choose, but one of my all-time favourites would definitely be a picture book called The Big Orange Splot by Daniel M. Pinkwater. I know it off by heart and the illustrations always make me smile. My sister still has our original copy, with all its page-turning creases characteristic of a much-loved book.

Which book are you hoping to unwrap this Christmas?

Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs is a book that I have bought as a present for someone else but would quite like to have myself. On the whale theme, I would love The Boy Who Met a Whale by Nizrana Farook – but it’s not out until January!

Watch the video

Join Joan and her tiger mascot, John, to learn about the magic of tigers in storybooks and some wild tiger facts. Joan will read extracts from her novel Tiger Skin Rug, as well as from Ross Montgomery's The Midnight Guardians and Robin Scott-Elliot's The Acrobats of Agra. There's also a tiger challenge for you at the end!


Download the activities

Get creative and colour in the the characters from Joan Haig's book!
Download Tiger Skin Rug colouring sheets


Tiger Skin Rug