“Can We Save the Tiger?” by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Vicky White
c.2011, Candlewick Press
$16.99 / $19.00 Canada
By Terri Schlichenmeyer, Philadelphia Tribune contributor
You are a kid who loves animals.
You’ve never met a dog who wasn’t your best buddy within five minutes. If there’s a stray kitty in your neighborhood, it will find you. Even birds seem to know you won’t hurt them. If it’s got fur or feathers, it’s your friend.
But what can you do for animals that are in danger? Read “Can We Save the Tiger?” by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Vicky White and you might find out.
As you already know, the world is a very big place. There’s room for humans of all kinds and colors, but we’re not the only beings on the planet. There are millions of non-human creatures that share our space.
Some of them have adjusted nicely to living alongside us. Others didn’t fare so well and they’re not here any more. You will never have a chance to see a live dodo, or a Steller’s sea cow, or a marsupial wolf, for instance. Those animals are extinct.
And then there are the animals that need help, or they won’t be around for long. One of them is the tiger.
Tigers are not like other kitties; they are, in fact, the biggest cat in the world and can grow up to 12 feet long but their beauty and size means they’re often killed for their fur. Also, because tigers are big, they need lots of territory to roam and they “don’t mix well” with humans. Tigers sometimes kill and eat farm animals which angers local farmers who want to get rid of the big cats.
And so, tigers are in danger.
But they’re not the only ones. Some snails are endangered because humans introduced predators into their homes. A species of vulture is endangered due to accidental poisoning. The list goes on …
But here’s the thing: if we don’t do something to stop hurting wild animals, there may come a day when you’ll only be able to see them in museums or old pictures.
Wouldn’t that be a shame?
You know how much your kids love to go to the zoo and see the animals. Imagine how they’d feel if there were no animals to see, and you’ve got a basic idea of what you’ll find in this book.
“Can We Save the Tiger?” is an intelligent book that never talks down to kids or makes them feel dumb. That means that author Martin Jenkins uses words that may be hard for kids to sound-out, which may require parental help.
But that won’t be a chore. The gorgeously spare illustrations by Vicky White will give you plenty to look at while you’re reading this book with your budding ecologist, and Jenkins’ words may even teach you a thing or two.
Though you might be tempted to get this book for a younger child, I think “Can We Save the Tiger?” is geared more for 8-to-13-year-olds — particularly if they’re already somewhat familiar with the endangering of animals. For readers like that, this is a book of a whole different stripe.
Contact Terri Schlichenmeyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.