What?: I was bloody ecstatic when I found out that Discover’s new temporary exhibition would be an homage to Judith Kerr, creator of accident-prone Mog and the sassy Tiger Who Came to Tea. This is the first time since I had Babu that the centre has run an exhibition based around characters that she’s familiar with, and I was looking forward to seeing how Kerr’s world of fierce and forgetful felines had been interpreted and watching Babu inhabit it.
Then we received an invitation to the preview, which promised a storytelling and exploration of the exhibition followed by a ‘Tigery tea’. Unfortunately the preview fell on my due date, but since Babu arrived two weeks late I was absolutely convinced her sister would too. She didn’t, of course, and I was in hospital recovering from the birth when the event rolled round (although there was a moment when I was off my face on opioids that I was still adamant I was going to go). Anyway, we were very kindly invited back and eventually got to see it couple of weeks later – though sadly minus the Tigery tea.
Our session began with an obscenely enthusiastic (seriously, how do people get to be so bloody jaunty?) 10-minute storytelling inside Sophie’s kitchen with one of Discover’s lovely Story Builders. Here a life-size Tiger perched smugly at the table, ready to be photographed by each and every parent in attendance as we took it in turns to place our toddler in the empty seat beside him and recreate the famous 1960s book cover.
There were plenty more photo ops beyond the kitchen door, and I was conscious that we only had 30 minutes to explore the exhibition and take all the photos – although I cared less about the latter and more about Babu having a meltdown because she’d wanted to take her time and hadn’t had a chance to see everything in such an absurdly short timespan (but then this always annoys me about Discover).
The rest of the exhibition is imagined as an immersive, toddler-sized town, complete with a greengrocer’s, a hardware store, a vet (or VEE EE TEE), a bus and even a bookshop selling nothing but Judith Kerr books. The Thomas’s house has a TV you can poke your head through, plus plenty of eggs for Mog. There’s also an oversized model of her in her garden for little ones to hug, as well as a mini slide and a few dress-up options.
All in all it couldn’t really be better. Well, tbh if they gave the kids a bit more time to enjoy it so that the trip doesn’t end with a screaming tantrum and having to placate them with a £15 Tiger/Mog toy in the gift shop (absolutely convinced they’ve done this on purpose) then it would be quite a lot better.
Where and When?: Discover is located at 383-387 High Street, Stratford, and is a five-minute walk from Stratford tube/Overground station. The Tiger Who Came to Tea and the Adventures of Mog the Forgetful Cat is on every day until September 2019.
Best Bits: Plenty to explore, brilliant storyteller (though a friend went and got a terrible one) and enough play food to feed an army of Cabbage Patch Dolls.
Worst Bits: Half an hour to explore the whole exhibition is a bit silly.
Facilities: Baby changing, buggy parking, step-free access, on-site cafe.
Cost: £1.50 in addition to your day pass (under-1s free; one year olds £2; age 2+ £6.50; adults £6.50).
Would We Come Back?: If we happened to be in Stratford then maybe, but I think once you’ve seen it you’ve seen it.
Babu tucks into tea with the Tiger at the The Tiger Who Came to Tea and the Adventures of Mog the Forgetful Cat at Discover Children’s Story Centre, Stratford.