TTWCTT has not one but two central female characters: Sophie and her mother. It even almost passes the Bechtel test as it opens with them having a conversation together at the table (unfortunately all the visitors Mummy suggests are male but still, pretty close.)
If you haven’t read it you really should. It is lots of people’s favourite picture book and it is easy to see why. It is such an absurd premise with such vibrant pictures. (I personally am a bit more of a fan of Mog – review to come in the future.)
It may lose a couple of feminist points on the very heteronormative family. Sophie’s mummy is a housewife and her daddy goes out to work. It is also daddy who comes home and solves the problem of what to eat for dinner. However, you could also read the book in a way which reflects the spirit of second wave feminism (it was published in 1968.) The tiger could be an imagined excuse that Mummy tells Daddy to explain why she hasn’t conformed to her role and gone shopping and prepared dinner… but that may be a bit of a stretch.
Michael Rosen suggests that the Tiger might represent of a much darker threat. Judith Kerr grew up in 1930s Germany. Her father was a Jewish intellectual and on a Nazi death list and they managed to escape to Prague in 1933, something that she later wrote about in the semi-autobiographical (and excellent) When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. So she knows a thing or two about dangerous people coming into your house and ruining the happy home.
Heroine rating: 3/5