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We’ll finally get to see Benedict Cumberbatch as the fearsome tiger Shere Khan when Mowgli opens later this year, and by the look of things he’s been getting in some practice for the role.

Yesterday (February 13), the Sherlock star delighted audiences at a London book event by appearing on stage to read the classic British children’s book The Tiger Who Came to Tea. First published in 1968, it’s a about a tiger who turns up at the house of a little girl called Sophie and promptly eats and drinks everything he can find, including all the water in the tap.

According to the Guardian, he told the audience he remembered the book being read to him as a child and he now reads it to his two young sons, Christopher and Hal.

“It is something that has continued from generation to generation and it’s now a wonderful thing to be passing it on,” he said.

Benedict was joined by the book’s writer and illustrator, 94-year-old Judith Kerr, who also wrote classics such as When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, the Mog series of books about a forgetful tabby cat, and The Crocodile Under the Bed.

Benedict then led the audience in a rendition of “Happy Birthday,” to celebrate 50 years since the book was first published. Aww.

The event isn’t the only one lined up to celebrate the book’s 50th anniversary. Deadline reported just last week that the tale of Sophie and her stripey teatime guest is also being turned into an animated film for TV — and we’ve got a great suggestion for who should narrate it.

Did you read this book as a child?

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By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.