4.6 15
by Dan Greenburg

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When Cody is 14, he runs away from home, leaving behind his abusive mother, and flees across the country. He doesn’t stop until he hits Texas and the Sam Houston Tiger Ranch. Under the guidance of Sunny, the ranch’s owner, he cares for the animals in ways he never imagined. He feeds them a diet of raw, bloody meat. He cleans out their cages. He takes them…  See more details below


When Cody is 14, he runs away from home, leaving behind his abusive mother, and flees across the country. He doesn’t stop until he hits Texas and the Sam Houston Tiger Ranch. Under the guidance of Sunny, the ranch’s owner, he cares for the animals in ways he never imagined. He feeds them a diet of raw, bloody meat. He cleans out their cages. He takes them for exercise. He finds out how to get a tiger to back down, and when he should back down himself. But there is another lesson Cody has to learn—sometimes people are harder to handle than tigers.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Fourteen-year-old Cody is on the run when he ends up in Texas at the Sam Houston Tiger Ranch. A coworker in Dallas tells him that the ranch is hiring, so Cody calls. Ranch owner Sunny tells him that he will be cleaning cages when the tigers are locked down. How difficult can it be? It turns out that Sunny has played down some aspects of the job, such as tossing the 5,000 pounds of meat that the tigers eat each week into the pens and taking out the uneaten rotten bits. There is also butchering horses and walking tigers on leashes. Cody figures that he can handle anything after what he's been through. Cody is not on the run from the law, but he is running from his mother. Even though he has hitchhiked from New York to Texas and changed his name and age, she keeps finding him. Can the courage Cody develops handling tigers allow him to stand up to his abusive mother? Greenburg writes a fast-paced if choppy story. Flashback chapters give readers a picture of Cody's malevolent mother, but the real story takes place at the ranch. A predictable mystery and misplaced crush make this story's audience younger than one might expect. This novel will find its place among reluctant readers and those with a keen interest in big cats. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006, Random House, 208p., and PLB Ages 11 to 15.
—Stacy Dillon
Children's Literature - Elisabeth Greenberg
Fourteen-year-old Cody is on the run and ends up at Sam Houston Tiger Ranch where "trespassers will be eaten." He convinces himself that he is not afraid of anything, even the mysterious "she," and marches in, entranced by the shimmering blue swimming pool until he gets a close-up of a tiger's wide-open mouth studded with teeth. Ranch owner Sunny Carter drills him on his duties—cleaning out lion and tiger pens, tossing dead meat to the animals, butchering dead horses. He takes the job, hoping that no one in the world could ever find him on an isolated tiger and lion ranch. Soon accepted by the other workers Deke and Randy, he discovers a knack for speaking big cat language and deciphering the complex personalities of the individual cats. As Cody builds his escape community, bringing a lonely boy into a close relationship with an unhappy lion and becoming the best big cat worker possible, Sunny becomes embroiled in accusations that she killed her brother Wayland Carter. Cody tries to solve the mystery of Wayland's disappearance and discovers that his manipulative mother is not the only bad person in the world. When the psychiatrist Dr. Redman shows up to reclaim her son, Cody, who has realized that bad people often get their comeuppance, stands up for himself and refuses to be manipulated any more. Instead, he turns the table on his mother and threatens to ruin her reputation as a star TV child psychiatrist by going public with his own story. Thanks to his courage and Sunny's realism, Cody faces down his mother and makes Sam Houston Tiger Ranch his home. Of course, that does entail going back to school and admitting to his real age! This story is a fast-paced read withfascinating details about big cats. It is an engaging tale of how a boy on the run finds himself and a new "family" and "home," but, except for Cody, characters are not fully realized.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Cody, 14, is 6 feet tall and passes for 16. His appearance has eased his flight from an abusive mother in New York City and made it possible for him to find minimum-wage jobs. He hopes for something better and more interesting when he hires on at the "Sam Houston Tiger Ranch" in central Texas. Dealing closely with the daily needs of big cats, he finds that his boss and coworkers are a colorful bunch, including ranch co-owner Sunny. Her brother and partner, Wayland, has recently disappeared and is presumed dead. The heart of the story is Cody's learning the ropes and beginning to feel a sense of home. A touching subplot involves an eight-year-old neighbor with a bad stutter whom Cody draws out of his shyness, and the violence of a summer tornado is a tense counterpoint to Cody's well-earned happiness. The other subplots, concerning Wayland and the accusation that Sunny murdered him, as well as Cody's worries that his mother, a noted television child psychologist, might find him, add unnecessary and not terribly convincing clutter to the story. Despite these caveats, however, Claws is a swiftly moving and sympathetic tale of a teen who wants to find a place for himself.-Coop Renner, Hillside Elementary, El Paso, TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fourteen-year-old Cody is not afraid of anything. Certainly not the big cats at the Texas tiger farm where he has found a job and a hiding place. He likes Sunny, the owner, and his work with the animals. But Sunny's brother is missing; the word is that she has killed him and fed him to the cats. The murder investigation not only threatens his job, it might reveal his true identity. Cody can manage even being in the cage with the white tiger Brutus, meanest of them all, but he can't return to the monstrous mother who physically and emotionally abused him. The emphasis here is on the present action, not the unhappy past. Middle-grade readers will relish the gory, scary details of caring for big cats as they learn, with Cody, never to turn your back or run away from a tiger-of any kind. Just shout and say NO! It doesn't hurt to take some action to help solve the mystery and to save your job as well. Solid book bait. (Fiction. 10-14)

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Random House Children's Books
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3 MB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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Claws 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nichole Foster More than 1 year ago
This is by far one of my most favorite books. It was described and put pictures thoughts and emotion all into my head along with action. I hope that a second one will come out and i will enjoy it. I highly recomend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Claws is about a 14-year-old boy named Cody who runs away from his mom and heads south. He ends up in Texas and starts working at a tiger ranch, learning how to lock the big cats down in pens to clean out their cages and how to feed and handle some of them. A bit of a mystery about the disappearance of the owner's 'Sunny' brother surrounds the place and people blame Sunny for his disappearance. Cody decides to prove Sunny's innocence and goes about collecting evidence to prove her innocence. The best part of the book was when a tornado hit the farm and once it was over they had to go out and round up the big cats that had escaped from their cages. The worst part was when they found Brutus, a huge and very mean tiger, over at a neighboring house and one of the ranch hands brought a gun to shoot him. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to read or likes big cats. It's a fast-paced book that's easy to follow and it caught my attention from the very beginning.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He walked into the room. "Well, well." He smiled then became serious. He grabbed her and pinched, saying, "You must do whatever I say, or you'll never see daylight again." He let her go. He pulled a six- hole pistol out of his pocket. "I have a license," he said smiling, "and you go to your quarters next res. ( Not the one next to this book but the one after. Double res.) But, tomorrow, the Real work begins."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Luv it great awesum etc
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Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is a page turner I couldnt keep my hands off
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is where anyone can make anouments.