Iris and the Tiger by Leanne Hall


Twelve-year-old Iris has been sent to Spain on a mission: to make sure her elderly and unusual aunt, Ursula, leaves her fortune–and her sprawling estate–to Iris’s scheming parents.

But from the moment Iris arrives at Bosque de Nubes, she realises something isn’t quite right. There is an odd feeling around the house, where time moves slowly and Iris’s eyes play tricks on her. While outside, in the wild and untamed forest, a mysterious animal moves through the shadows.

Just what is Aunt Ursula hiding?

But when Iris discovers a painting named Iris and the Tiger, she sets out to uncover the animal’s real identity–putting her life in terrible danger.

Iris and the Tiger by Leanne Hall

Published: January 27th 2016 by Text Publishing

Source: Library


The tiger, doing exactly as it pleased, not caring in the slightest about the rules that should have kept it on the canvas…

This book made me wonder why I stopped reading middle-grade books. Iris and the Tiger is a wonderful book on art and magic. I’m putting it on the list of books I wish I could gift to my 12 year old self through time travel, of course. (Iris and the Tiger could happily sit with my Diana Wynne Jones collection).  The mystery/detective plot is strong too. Iris’ curiosity pulls the reader into this surreal world where her aunt piece’s art pieces blend effortlessly with everyday life.

I also liked that this story is from the perspective of a biracial Australian heroine (Iris’ mother has European heritage and her father immigrated from Hong Kong). Iris is witty with her own observations of how others perceive her overseas. She finds her footing among friends, family, art and magic. It was just what I needed to read before visiting the Frida Kahlo exhibition.

Thanks to Romi for putting this book on my TBR. I like how this book is also highlighted by Cassandra Golds, another Australian author who I admire for her surreal and insightful middle grade stories. I plan on picking up more of Leanne Hall‘s work in the future.

5 thoughts on “Iris and the Tiger by Leanne Hall

  1. There were so many elements of this book that I so enjoyed, but I think I felt similarly on that I would have appreciated it, and that it would have landed on my all time favourite shelf, if only I’d read it when I was younger. It would have been so perfect a read, magical and unexpected and unexplained, in parts, that I would have been instantly captivated. And I did love it, when I read it earlier this year, but there were definitely aspects I would have been able to appreciate so much more as a younger person than I did as an older one.

    I was really intrigued by Iris as a character (although the fact this was set in modern day and she would talk about cell phones and the like never sat right with me- it always came out as so unexpected and the story felt like it was set in a different time, not our time) and I liked the moment she was self reflective and saw that her own family weren’t the people she wanted them to be. Those moments became some of my favourite- although, everything involving a painting or an adventure into the woods was sure to become something I adored.

    I’m so glad you read this, Glaiza, and enjoyed it! That makes me really happy! I really love Leanne Hall’s writing style, although I think her YA writing suits me better as a person these days (not to say I woiuldn’t read her MG work again, because I totally would). x


    1. I agree that it did feel like she was living in a different time period as well as a different place. It would have not felt out of place for her to pull out a golden phone with a cord or perhaps, a telegram, even instead of a mobile. I’m happy to share more love for this book and will let you know when I retry her YA work.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.