Riding the Tiger [NOOK Book]


Esteemed author Eve Bunting brings all her insight, empathy, and storytelling skill to this powerful allegorical tale, set in the streets of an unnamed city and illustrated with striking woodcuts.

Danny, new to town, is proud when a glittery-eyed tiger invites him for a ride. He climbs up onto the tiger's massive back, and together they cruise the neighborhood. Everyone gives them respect?shopkeepers and passersby, even other kids. Danny feels powerful and much older than ten. ...

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Riding the Tiger

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Esteemed author Eve Bunting brings all her insight, empathy, and storytelling skill to this powerful allegorical tale, set in the streets of an unnamed city and illustrated with striking woodcuts.

Danny, new to town, is proud when a glittery-eyed tiger invites him for a ride. He climbs up onto the tiger's massive back, and together they cruise the neighborhood. Everyone gives them respect—shopkeepers and passersby, even other kids. Danny feels powerful and much older than ten. Soon, though, he realizes it isn't respect people feel for him and the tiger—it's fear. And when he decides to get down off the tiger's back, he discovers it's a lot harder than climbing on.

Whether the tiger is interpreted to represent gangs, drugs, or something else altogether, this poetically told, dramatically illustrated book is sure to provoke discussions about temptation, peer pressure, and conformity.

Ten-year-old Danny is bored and lonely when he hops on the back of the exciting and somewhat scary tiger that offers him a ride, but he soon discovers that it's easier to get on the tiger than it is to get off.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bunting's provocative allegory uses a tiger to personify the powerful allure of the gang. When the tiger calls Danny by name and invites him for a ride through their tough city neighborhood, the boy accepts, but soon learns that he has made a dangerous mistake. The tiger talks about respect, but wins it through taunts and intimidation. When Danny tries to get off the tiger's back, the tiger threatens him. "But maybe I don't want you to get off," the tiger says. "Maybe I want to get to know you better." Only when the tiger traumatizes a homeless man can the boy conquer his own fear to aid the tiger's victim. Bunting's 1997 picture book, Your Move, highlighted the same dilemma; in it, the boy's loving family and supportive neighbors are set against the menace of the gang. Here the story recedes in importance as the author trumpets the moral dilemma ("Do you want what I want?" asks the tiger, "Because anyone who isn't for us is against us"). Danny's family and friends never appear onstage, and the conflict is played out entirely in Danny's mind. Frampton's stark, stylized woodcuts, medieval in their conception and intensity, heighten the story's morality-play atmosphere. Like Your Move, the book will be most useful as a discussion-starter. Ages 6-9. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Danny, a new boy in town, is lonely, unsure of himself and a bit bored. He is flattered when a massive tiger invites him to climb upon his back. They cruise the neighborhood, and Danny feels powerful and proud as shopkeepers give him space and kids envy his status. When a group of boys invites Danny to join them in a game of basketball, Danny learns that it is not so easy to climb down from the tiger. What he thought was respect from his peers he now realizes was fear. Controlled by the tiger, Danny is afraid of the path he is taking, but when he chooses to come to the assistance of a homeless man, Danny is able to break free of the tiger's hold. The message of this haunting allegory¾to avoid the temptation of conformity and to stand tall for individualism¾is related in vivid language. The metaphorical tiger is rendered in his blunt, angled woodcuts that capture his power and control. Bunting has crafted a tale for today's children, who often find themselves riding the tiger. Used as a discussion starter, this book will empower kids to become masters of their own fate. 2001, Clarion, $16.00. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Ten-year-old Danny is new in town, so when an imposing tiger offers him a ride, he's flattered and intrigued. However, as they swagger together through the city, Danny notices that the beast is eliciting fear-not respect-from shopkeepers, school kids, and neighbors. When a young man invites him to join a basketball game and Danny vacillates, the tiger turns threatening and seems to grow larger. Finally, it terrifies a homeless man into injuring himself, and Danny must decide whether to surrender his powerful perch and help, or remain on the now-frightening beast. His courageous and painful fall to the pavement and ultimate concern for the stranger break the tiger's hold. Danny denies his association with the big cat and it disappears. The woodcut illustrations and dark palette capture the grittiness of the setting; the angular and fierce animal is drawn with thick strong lines while people, with curving profiles and trusting eyes, project hope as well as fear. Bunting's thinly veiled allegory will be obvious to most school-aged readers and especially pertinent to those struggling with gang membership. The first-person telling allows for doubt and introspection; Danny is exhilarated by his alliance with the beast, then struggles with doubt and self-deprecation when its ruthlessness is revealed. The powerful imagery ("He smelled of something dark and exciting") contrasts with an occasional dated expression ("The concrete hit me like a pile driver") but pacing is as relentless as a stalking cat and the message is as purposeful. A provocative look at a timely topic.-Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
After a long string of career hits from Bunting (The Wall, 1990, Smoky Night, 1994, etc.), we have a miss: a bald, ham-handed allegory cautioning kids against gang membership and peer conformity. Danny, a ten-year-old, new-kid-on-the-block, is immediately greeted by a savvy tiger that invites him to come along for a ride. In a series of exchanges over multiple pages, they prowl the mean streets of an urban neighborhood. As the ride proceeds, the fun fades and it becomes clear that shopkeepers, cops, girls gathered on a street corner, and even a group shooting baskets are firmly under this tiger's paw. Ominously, gang colors and "tags" (here depicted as the tiger's black paw-print) are everywhere. Happily, the scales fall from Danny's eyes by the short ride's end. When Danny dismounts to help a terrified "bum, rooting through garbage," the tiger turns and snarls his threat: "You've had your chance. You'll never be one of us . . ." The message is pounded home: "Once you get up on the tiger's back, it's hard to get off. . . . But if you get off fast enough it's still possible." Frampton's handsome woodcuts capture the sinister slink of the tiger and the potent mix of attraction and danger he projects. Those who work in therapeutic settings with at-risk kids may want to add it to their treatment arsenal. However, libraries-especially urban libraries-may find this a far too simple answer to a complex question. Most general readers-kids and their parents, grandparents, and older siblings-will find this simplistic and preachy. (Picture book. 6-9)
From the Publisher

In this picture book for older readers, Bunting returns to the theme she examined earlier in Your Move (1998), that of choices that children make when they are tempted to join a gang. This time she uses allegory to make her point. A tiger comes along and invites 10-year-old Danny to climb on its back. Once there, Danny notices the reactions of the people they meet and grows increasingly uneasy as he realizes how frightened they are. The metaphor works beautifully to convey the power and allure of a gang leader and the special feelings of being singled out by someone powerful and splendid. Frampton's woodcuts capture the tiger's magnificance, cruelty, and wickedness by highlighting, at different times, the tiger's sharp teeth, huge paws, and terrifying eyes. The pictures, colored in browns, oranges and reds, mix the real with the fantastical and blend beauty an brutality for a spine-tingling effect. They also mask Danny's ethnicity so that a wide variety of readers can identify with him. Parents, teachers, and others working with children will find this book and Your Move, excellent for discussing what it really means to join a gang—and how to find the courage to steer clear.
Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

A provocative look at a timely topic.
School Library Journal

". . . .the offbeat exploration of a kid on the verge of trouble may provoke discussion and contemplation in readers." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

The prose has a poetic, free-associating quality, and the black woodcut images, set against brooding backdrops, are commanding.
Horn Book Guide

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547533179
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/19/2001
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 680,253
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years
  • File size: 8 MB

Meet the Author

EVE BUNTING has written over two hundred books for children, including the Caldecott Medal-winning Smoky Night, illustrated by David Diaz, The Wall, Fly Away Home, and Train to Somewhere. She lives in Southern California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013


    Name: Zuna. Age: Cub. Pelt: golden. Parents: uh...
    Other: I normally rp the same characters, so the older Zuna is actually dead but I went back and started to rp her cub years.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013


    Java is the largest lion in the pride. He has an all white (only male with it and one female can have saw color) coat with a large mane. His mane is all black as well as the tip of his tail. He has a few scars but not much. Hr usually wins. He is the head of the pride. He has all the qualities of a leader except patience. His sister has that for him. His twin actually. His family is Kira his twin and Fang his brother and Savage his daughter. He is five years old.....Kira is an all black lioness. (Only female with this color one male can have this color) She has a large lithe figure. Smaller than her brother but larger than average. She has scars scattered over her flank. A little of both ears missing and one slash over her left eye though she can still open that eye. She has patience. Which her broher needs. She also has the most motherly instincts. She cares for the pride and is the healer as well. She is five years as well. Her family is Java her twin. Fang her brother and Savage her niece.....Fang is a medium tawny golden lion. He has little for he does not like fighting. He is very smart though. He is the most peaceful one in the family. His family is Java and Kira are his siblings and Savage is his neice. He is three years...Savage is a small lion. She has scas scattered and no left eye. She has only a large scar there. She has a russet coat th color of blood. She is the most childish. For she is scared of a lot but she acts so childlike at other times. She is fragile and does not like fighting. She loves rabbits though. Her family is Java her father and Kira and Fang her aunt and uncle. She is two years....All of these lions have violet eyes. Java has deep violet eyes while Kira has light and loving eyes. Fang has sharp middlviolet and Savage has a mix of the hues of violet.

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