This is a traditional adventure story with an unexpected twist. Three boys are going on safari, only to be told to take little Michal with them. Like all older brothers, Yotam protests. He thinks she'll be a nuisance, but imagine his surprise when the tables are turned and his annoying little sister emerges victorious. A feminist message is conveyed in a language that young children can understand.
The story unfolds with humor and charm: winter is over and mother allows the children to have a picnic outdoors. "But don't go into the field," she warns. "Who knows how many snakes are hiding in that jungle of tall grass" However Yotam, Eran and Eyal, three adventurous boys, have other plans: they are going to hunt wild tigers. Michal, Yotam's little sister, is clearly not welcome. Undeterred she stubbornly declares, "I can take care of myself," and follows them down the path to the field. Michal thinks that there is a princess living in a palace on the hill and suggests that they all sail there in a boat. "A sea?" pooh-poohs Yotam. "It's a dangerous jungle and we're going to hunt tigers and catch snakes."
But Michal dosn't give in. Sitting on the old tablecloth her mother provided, she finds the magic words which turn it into an enchanted vehicle, ploughing its way through rocks and weeds like a rugged jeep. When she passes the boys, they tell her to turn back because of the danger in the jungle. But Michal declares, "I'm Princess 'I Can Do It Myself,' I'll hunt a tiger myself." And she does: she finds a cub fighting off a fierce hound (which just happens to be her own pup, Hetz).
Michal triumphantly shows her "tiger cub" to the skeptical boys who grudgingly admire it. When Mother brings ice cream to the hungry hunters, Michal proudly announces that she found the "tiger cub" (actually a kitten). Then she rushes home to get it some milk, singing joyfully, "I can do it all by myself, all by myself."
Illustrations: Gilly Alon Curiel