Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Review #19: The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo

Title: The Tiger Rising

Author: Kate DiCamillo
Genre: Fiction for Ages 7-12
Format: Paperback purchased at Book Sale
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2001

Rating: 5/5

My Review and Description:

If you have read a few posts ago, you will know that I went to a book sale this past weekend. Well, this book was one of my finds! Kate DiCamillo is a author that is local to my area, Minneapolis. I had the pleasure of seeing her live last month at a reading and signing for her new book, The Magician's Elephant. I have also had the pleasure during my career as a bookstore manager to host a reading and signing when she was touring for her children's picture book, Louise: The Adventures of a Chicken. Delightful!

I am a very big fan of hers. She has a way of storytelling that makes you feel very nostalgic for your childhood. It doesn't matter where you come from or how you were raised or if you can relate at all to the characters in her books. They evoke a feeling of warmth, adventure, curiousity, vulnerability, discovery and joy. They also really pulse with the solitude and lonliness and confusion that can come with growing up.

The Tiger Rising has all of the above. It tells the story of Rob, a 12 year old boy living in a motel with his father. Recently having lost his mother to cancer, Rob doesn't have a lot of enthusiasm left for life. Bullied at school, unable to cry at home in front of his father, the only joy Rob gets these days is when he can work on his wood carvings, a skill his mother taught him.

One day on a walk in the woods behind the motel, he discovers a tiger in a cage. Fascinated and horrified, he keeps the secret to himself until a strange new girl, names Sistine, befriends him unexpectedly. She is new to town and full of vinegar, unhappy with the situation she finds herself in; living with her mother, her father far away with another woman. The only way she can find some joy is to be with Rob and shake him out of his shell. Now with the discovery of the tiger, a bigger adventure of releasing him to safety lies in front of them.

No teasers here. This book is a short 116 pages but full of so much emotion. Rob is endearing and you want to shelter and save him every step of the way. Sistine is fierce and loyal and you wish she was your friend when you were a kid. And the tiger, to me, represents the hope for the extraordinary. The something you craved as a kid to rattle you out of the every day.

The book has additional characters that appear; the father devoted to his son and his own sadness; Willie May, the caretaker of the motel who offers Rob life advice; and the bullies on the bus who we all kind of want to get tossed out the windows. :)

I rate this book and all of her books a 5. She is a glorious author who luckily has now been awarded acclaim and awards! She can probably be found at the library if you are interested. Very quick read. I read this one in 30 minutes.

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child


Christine said...

Hi Michelle!
I am a huge fan of Kate DiCamillo as well. In fact, I'm reading The Magician's Elephant now! Tiger Rising is actually my least favorite of her works, but after reading your review, I think I may have to reread it. Maybe I simply missed the vibe when I read it--which was a few years ago. It shouldn't be difficult to do, either since it is short and it is on our family bookshelf!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I've never read anything by Kate DiCamillo, but this review may change that.

I've seen The Magician's Elephant and the cover art alone made me want to pick it up, but for some reason I haven't. I'll be reconsidering getting it now.

Christine said...

I replied to your comment on my blog, but I'm not sure if you click on the subscribe to comments in email thing, so I'm repeating myself here. ;)

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is absolutely my favorite DiCamillo novel, too! I even blogged about it two weeks ago HERE. Oh my goodness... such an emotional journey that was for the reader. An amazing story.

Jenny said...

I've never read any of her books but this sounds great! She was a speaker at my sister's undergrad graduation at University of Florida. I guess for that reason I incorrectly "remembered" that she was from here, lol!

Krista said...

Never heard of this title before but it does sound like a good one! I will have to add this one to my wish list :) And hey, Christmas is just around the corner, too! Great review!

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

This book looks beautiful inside and out! WOW! Thanks for connecting me too it.

zipbagofbones said...

I'm adding this to my hold list at the library right now - I love DiCamillo!