by Kate DiCamillo
This short but touching story is about a boy overcoming grief. His mother has recently passed away, and he lives with his father in a motel on the edge of town, struggling to make a new start. He's also got some kind of rash on his legs which makes the other kids either pick on or avoid him at school. Rob is feeling very wretched and lonely when one day he discovers a tiger locked in a cage in the woods behind the hotel. Unexpectedly, a new girl from school (belligerent and full of contempt) shows up at the hotel and Rob lets her in on his secret. She immediately plans to set the tiger free. Rob wants to, but also knows this might be dangerous. As they try to figure out what to do about the tiger, he begins to gradually build a friendship and let out some of the feelings he's bottled up inside. The two children are opposites- the girl flaunts all her feelings while Rob tries to hide his- and they both have a lot to learn from each other. Some aspects of the story made me think of Bridge to Terabithia and Stargirl. And the tiger in a cage reminded me of The Prince of Tides, a book that I haven't thought of in years. The Tiger Rising really is a beautiful little story, I just wish it was longer! The ending felt rather abrupt; I wanted to know more about final circumstances surrounding the tiger. The characters' various personalities and difficult emotions they wrestled with were so well portrayed, I longed for just a little more depth. But it's perfect for children.
Rating: 3/5 ........ 116 pages, 2001
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