Tyger! Tyger!

Elizabeth Stanley, Author . Enchanted Lion $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59270-068-4

Stanley’s (The Deliverance of Dancing Bears ) solemn account of a tiger-sheltering Thai monastery uses a set of actual circumstances as the basis for a retelling that adds a spiritual dimension to the story. The book’s afterword describes a real monastery northwest of Bangkok that raises orphaned tigers and plans to build a preserve for them, which will be protected by a moat. In Stanley’s version, the tigers come to the monks through a kind of divine, animist inspiration. “Listen carefully, my friend,” a disembodied voice says to one of the monks, “Our kingdom is in danger.” The voice directs a young monk to two cubs hidden in the jungle. Later, the voice instructs the monks to build a moat to protect the tigers from poachers, and the construction goes more easily than the monks had anticipated. “The spirit of the jungle gods was with the monks,” the narrator explains, “empowering them as they toiled.” The story of the fight against the extinction of species is always worth telling, though a less heavy-handed approach might have allowed its truth and sacred significance to emerge on its own. The double-page, full-bleed pastels look right for a picture book for young readers, with skillfully drafted, jewel-colored spreads. A close-up of a dead tiger with a poacher’s bullet hole through its head, though, seems to point to an older audience. Ages 4-8. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
Genre: Children's
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