The Tiger Rising

( 282 )


From the best-selling author of Because of Winn-Dixie comes the moving story of an eleven-year-old-boy, Rob Horton, who finds a caged tiger in the woods behind the hotel where he lives with his father. With the help of his new friend, Sistine Bailey, Rob must decide what to do with his discovery and at the same time come to terms with his past.

Rob, who passes the time in his rural Florida community by wood carving, is drawn by his spunky but angry friend Sistine ...

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The Tiger Rising

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From the best-selling author of Because of Winn-Dixie comes the moving story of an eleven-year-old-boy, Rob Horton, who finds a caged tiger in the woods behind the hotel where he lives with his father. With the help of his new friend, Sistine Bailey, Rob must decide what to do with his discovery and at the same time come to terms with his past.

Rob, who passes the time in his rural Florida community by wood carving, is drawn by his spunky but angry friend Sistine into a plan to free a caged tiger.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Kate DiCamillo follows up her Newbery Honor-winning novel, Because of Winn-Dixie, with an emotionally rich and poignant tale of one boy's struggle to find himself in a confusing and harsh world. The Tiger Rising is about the heartbreak of loss, the hope of new beginnings, and the unexpected events that often color our lives.

Twelve-year-old Rob Horton's life has been thoroughly uprooted: Following his mother's recent death, his father has moved them to a rundown motel in northern Florida. Faced with a grief he doesn't understand and his father's refusal to talk about it, Rob stumbles through his new life like an automaton. At school he is constantly bullied because of his newcomer status and an inexplicable leg rash he's had since his mother's death. The only bright light in Rob's day is another new student the bullies have targeted, a girl named Sistine ("like the chapel"), who is as openly angry and pugilistic as Rob is withdrawn and passive. Drawn together by their shared outsider status and a common emotional void (Sistine's parents have divorced) the two quickly become friends.

Even when Rob is suspended from school, he continues to see Sistine each day when she stops by to deliver his homework. Their bond is strengthened when he shares with her a startling discovery -- a live tiger trapped inside a cage in the woods behind the motel where he lives. They immediately start scheming up ways to help the creature escape and eventually, fate provides them with the perfect means to do so. But they fail to weigh all the consequences of their actions, a fact that becomes tragically clear within minutes of the tiger's release. Yet there is triumph in the outcome as well, for it leads to an epiphany of sorts for both Rob and his father, setting Rob at long last on the road toward emotional healing.

At just over 100 pages, The Tiger Rising is a quick read, despite its apparently languid pace. But don't let the story's slimness fool you -- DiCamillo packs a powerful punch and plenty of satisfaction into those few pages, filling each one with vivid imagery, poetic prose, and high emotional impact. (Beth Amos)

Publishers Weekly
After Rob's mother dies, he and his father move to a new town to get a fresh start, he discovers a caged tiger in the woods. An emotionally rich story about a boy caught in the powerful grip of grief. Ages 8-up. (Aug.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
DiCamillo's second novel may not be as humorous as her debut, Because of Winn-Dixie, but it is just as carefully structured, and her ear is just as finely tuned to her characters. In the first chapter, readers learn that Rob lost his mother six months ago; his father has uprooted their lives from Jacksonville to Lister, Fla.; the boy hates school; and his father's boss, Beauchamp, is keeping a caged wild tiger at Beauchamp's abandoned gas station. The author characterizes Rob by what he does not do ("Rob had a way of not-thinking about things"; "He was a pro at not-crying"), and the imprisoned tiger becomes a metaphor for the thoughts and feelings he keeps trapped inside. Two other characters, together with the tiger, act as catalyst for Rob's change: a new classmate, Sistine ("like the chapel"), who believes that her father will rescue her someday and take her back to Pennsylvania, and Willie May, a wise and compassionate woman who works as a chambermaid at Beauchamp's hotel. The author delves deeply into the psyches of her cast with carefully choreographed scenes, opting for the economy of poetry over elaborate prose. The climax is sudden and brief, mimicking the surge of emotion that overtakes Rob, who can finally embrace life rather than negate it. DiCamillo demonstrates her versatility by treating themes similar to those of her first novel with a completely different approach. Readers will eagerly anticipate her next work. Ages 10-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
DiCamillo is a Newbery Honor author for Because of Winn-Dixie and someone whose writing defies categories. The Tiger Rising is about two twelve-year-old friends, which would seem at face value to limit the audience for this book to children—not even YAs. And yes, older children would like the story on one level, but so would YAs and adults, reading it from a different perspective but appreciating it fully. The cover sets the mood: a hazy view of a tiger, a boy, and a girl in a forest, the girl riding the tiger and the whole looking like a tale of fantasy—something like a story of a unicorn. We meet the boy and his father, wounded people mourning the death of the boy's mother some months ago. The father has forbidden the boy to speak of the death, not out of cruelty, just ignorance and pain. Rob is bullied terribly at school, suffers from a disfiguring skin rash, and gets his only comfort and solace from carving wood as his mother taught him to do, and from the wisdom and care of Willie May who cleans rooms at the rundown motel where Rob's father works. One day a fierce girl comes to town, angry and bitter at her parents' divorce. Her name is Sistine (named after the Sistine Chapel in Rome where her parents met). She becomes Rob's ally, probably because it gives her an excuse to fight. The owner of the motel, a redneck if there ever was one, has obtained a tiger that he keeps in a cage in the woods and hires Rob to feed it. The children are convinced they must free the tiger, which provides the catalyst they need to get beyond their own fetters—emotional ones. The writing is spare, poetic, moving. The setting, rural Florida, seems vividly real as DiCamillo describes it.The story has a timeless quality about it, which reminds me of the book Sounder, for example. I'm sure it will speak powerfully to many readers of all ages. KLIATT Codes: JSA*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2001, Candlewick, 116p, 99-088635, $12.99. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Claire Rosser; May 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 3)
From The Critics
While not as humorous as Because of Winn-Dixie, Kate DiCamillo has created another multi-layered story about dealing with loss, "letting sadness rise on up," and embracing life. Rather than confronting his grief, twelve-year-old Rob Horton lets nothing get to him — neither bullies at his new school, nor his rash, nor living in the Kentucky Star hotel! After his mom's death, Rob packed away his complicated feelings in a bulging suitcase. Even his mom's name brings heartache, until he discovers a tiger in the woods. This caged, pacing tiger serves as a hauntingly fierce metaphor for his deep grief throughout the book. Willie May, a hotel maid, plays prophetess in offering Rob advice. The new girl Sistine teaches him to defy ridicule. Even his hollowed-out dad finally realizes Rob needs help in facing Caroline's death. In sparse, tight prose, DiCamillo quietly weaves the extraordinary alongside the universal in this symbolic and sensitive story of letting the tiger rise on up. 2001, Candlewick Press, 116 pp.,
— Sherron Killingsworth Roberts
Another winning novel by the author of Newbery 2001 Honor Book Because of Winn-Dixie (Candlewick, 2000), this story of loss and healing follows twelve-year-old Rob Horton as he grieves for his dead mother and learns that to survive the cinch around his heart, he must let his pain go. In the opening scene, Rob finds a caged tiger in the woods, a beautiful golden animal that paces away his captive days. At school, Rob befriends the new girl, Sistine, and she insists that together they must set the tiger free. The tiger as the symbol of Rob's pent-up grief will not be lost on young students. Neither will they miss the wisdom handed down throughout the story by the chambermaid at the motel where Rob and his father, the motel handyman, live. Willie May knows that the horrible, itchy rash on Rob's legs is the manifestation of his anguish. She tells him, "You keeping all that sadness down low, in your legs. You not letting it get up to your heart, where it belongs. You got to let that sadness rise on up." By the end of the story, Rob is finally able to say his mother's name aloud, and he demands that his father say it too—a simple act that begins the healing process for both of them. This short novel will be especially useful for those students dealing with the loss of a loved one, but fine stories are rare, and this one will be read eagerly by all audiences. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2001, Candlewick Press, 116p, $12.99. Ages 12 to 14. Reviewer: Leslie Carter SOURCE: VOYA, August 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 3)
Children's Literature
Fresh on the heels of her Newbery Honor award for Because of Winn Dixie comes DiCamillo's latest, The Tiger Rising. DiCamillo has a talent for getting inside the heads of lonely children and figuring out exactly where their pain is. In this book, we meet Rob who lives in a motel with his father as they are trying to get themselves on their feet following Mom's death. Rob is desperately unhappy as he tries to cope with his loss and finds that pretending nothing is wrong is the safest way to go. He likens it to putting all of his problems into a stuffed suitcase and sitting on the lid. School is a nightmare for Rob, where he is the victim of two awful bullies. When the principal suggests that he take some time off while a rash on his legs heals, Rob feels like he has been sprung from prison. On his last day of school two important things happen, he finds a tiger in a cage and he meets Sistine. Sistine is a kindred spirit who is also dealing with the loss of her father due to divorce. It is their friendship and the voice of reason¾an adult friend at the motel named Willie May¾that starts the healing process. Like Because of Winn Dixie, the writing is deceptively simple and sparse. The characters are well drawn and very believable. While the story is a sad one it ultimately becomes one of hope, as these two lost souls begin to mend. Artfully executed, this short novel is a treat for the heart and soul. 2001, Candlewick Press, . Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Joan Kindig
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Kate DiCamillo's novel (Candlewick, 2001) is about the distances between people, and the giant leaps of faith that are sometimes needed to bridge those distances. Rife with symbolism, this story focuses on Rob's losses--not just of his mother who died of cancer, but his loss of his father, who is struggling with his own grief. Rob has two talents: keeping his emotions under cover, and carving wood into beautiful shapes. Life at the Kentucky Star Motel in rural Florida, where Rob's father works as a handyman, is lonely and bleak until a caged tiger appears in the woods and a new friend helps to open Rob's heart. Sistine, the new girl at school, also suffers, but she is alive with raw emotions and spunk. She and Rob form a friendship, and together they set out to free the tiger whose caged existence represents their own limited horizons. Film and Broadway actor Dylan Baker reads with a gentle drawl, changing his voice just enough to breath life into the characters. Even so, the characters remain rather contrived. In particular, the figure of the tiger is not vividly portrayed, partly because it carries more symbolic weight than the story can plausibly sustain. DiCamillo's somewhat heavy-handed symbolism leads to an inconclusive climax that ends with Rob's father shooting the tiger after Rob and Sistine release it. The sacrifice of the tiger as a condition for Rob's bonding with his father and his emergence as a character is not an ending that will appeal to animal lovers.-Emily Herman, Hutchinson Elementary School, Atlanta, GA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Themes of freedom and responsibility twine between the lines of this short but heavy novel from the author of Because of Winn-Dixie (2000). Three months after his mother's death, Rob and his father are living in a small-town Florida motel, each nursing sharp, private pain. On the same day Rob has two astonishing encounters: first, he stumbles upon a caged tiger in the woods behind the motel; then he meets Sistine, a new classmate responding to her parents' breakup with ready fists and a big chip on her shoulder. About to burst with his secret, Rob confides in Sistine, who instantly declares that the tiger must be freed. As Rob quickly develops a yen for Sistine's company that gives her plenty of emotional leverage, and the keys to the cage almost literally drop into his hands, credible plotting plainly takes a back seat to character delineation here. And both struggle for visibility beneath a wagonload of symbol and metaphor: the real tiger (and the inevitable recitation of Blake's poem); the cage; Rob's dream of Sistine riding away on the beast's back; a mysterious skin condition on Rob's legs that develops after his mother's death; a series of wooden figurines that he whittles; a larger-than-life African-American housekeeper at the motel who dispenses wisdom with nearly every utterance; and the climax itself, which is signaled from the start. It's all so freighted with layers of significance that, like Lois Lowry's Gathering Blue (2000), Anne Mazer's Oxboy (1995), or, further back, Julia Cunningham's Dorp Dead (1965), it becomes more an exercise in analysis than a living, breathing story. Still, the tiger, "burning bright" with magnificent,feralpresence, does make an arresting central image. (Fiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763618988
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 42,475
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 520L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.02 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo says of THE TIGER RISING, "Rob Horton first showed up in a short story I was writing. I finished the story, but apparently
Rob wasn’t finished with me. He hung around for weeks afterward, haunting the other stories I was working on. Finally, I said to him, ‘What in the world do you want?’ And he said, ‘I know where there’s a tiger.’ Like Sistine, I said one word back to him, ‘Where?’ THE TIGER
RISING is how Rob Horton answered me."


Kate DiCamillo was born in Philadelphia, moved to Florida's warmer climate when she was five years old, and landed in Minneapolis in her 20s.

While working at a children's bookstore, DiCamillo wrote her first novel, Because of Winn-Dixie (2000). It was inspired by one of the worst winters in Minnesota, when she became homesick for Florida after overhearing a little girl with a southern accent. One thing led to another, and soon DiCamillo had created the voice of Opal Buloni, a resilient ten-year-old girl who has just moved to a small town in Florida with her father. Opal's mother abandoned the family when she was three years old, and her father has a hard time explaining why.

Though her father is busy and she has no friends, Opal's life takes a turn for the better when she adopts a fun-loving stray dog, Winn-Dixie (named after the supermarket where she found him, out in the parking lot). With Winn-Dixie as her guide, Opal makes friends with the eccentric people of her new town and even convinces her father to talk about her mother. Through Opal, readers are given a gift: a funny and heartrending story of how one girl's spirit can change her life and others'. Critics loved the book as much as readers, and in 2001, Because of Winn-Dixie was named a Newbery Honor Book.

DiCamillo's second novel, The Tiger Rising (2001), also deals with the importance of friendships, families, and making changes. Twelve-year-old Rob Horton and his father are dealing with grief, anger, and isolation after moving to Lister, Florida, six months after Rob's mother succumbs to cancer. Rob's father has a job at a motel (where they both also live), but it barely pays the bills. Struggling through the loss of his mother, Rob stifles his many confusing emotions as he battles bullies at his new school, worries about a rash on his legs, and copes with living in poverty.

In many ways, The Tiger Rising is a darker, more challenging story than Because of Winn-Dixie, but there is a similar light of deliverance in this beautiful novel: the healing power of friendship. Two meetings change Rob's life. First, he encounters a caged lion in the woods. Shortly thereafter he meets Sistine, who has recently moved to Lister after her parents' divorce. Sistine and Rob are polar opposites -- she stands up to the school bullies and lets out every bit of her anger at her parents' divorce and her relocation. Through Sistine, Rob recognizes himself in the caged lion, and the story of how the two children free the beast is one of the most engaging reads in contemporary young adult fiction. With the lion free, Rob is free to grieve the loss of his mother and move on with his bittersweet new life in Lister. A National Book Award finalist, The Tiger Rising is hard to put down as it overflows with raw, engaging emotion.

In 2003, DiCamillo's third novel, The Tale of Despereaux, was released to the delight of readers and critics alike. This odd but enthralling fairy tale also touches on some of the topics from her first two novels -- parental abandonment and finding the courage to be yourself. The hero, Despereaux Tilling, is a mouse who has always been different from the rest of his family, and to make matters worse, he has broken a serious rule: interacting with humans, particularly Princess Pea, who captures his heart. When Despereaux finds himself in trouble with the mouse community, he is saddened to learn that his father will not defend him. Characters in the tale are Princess Pea, whose mother died after seeing a rat in her soup; King Pea, who, in his grief, declares that no soup may be served anywhere in the kingdom; Miggery Sow, a servant girl who dreams of being a princess after being sold into servitude by her father after her mother dies; and Roscuro, a villainous rat with a curious soup obsession.

The story of how the characters' paths cross makes The Tale of Despereaux an adventurous read, reminiscent of Grimm's fairy tales. In the spirit of love and forgiveness, Despereaux changes everyone's life, including his own. As the unnamed, witty narrator of the novel tells us, "Every action, reader, no matter how small, has a consequence." Kate DiCamillo's limitless imagination and her talent for emotional storytelling earned her one of the most prestigious honors a children's author can receive -- in 2004, she was awarded the Newbery Medal.

Good To Know

DiCamillo wrote The Tale of Despereaux for a friend's son, who had asked her to write a story for him about a hero with large ears.

In our interview, DiCamillo shared some other fun facts with us: :

"I can't cook and I'm always on the lookout for a free meal."

"I love dogs and I'm an aunt to a very bad dog named Henry."

"My first job was at McDonald's. I was overjoyed when I got a nickel raise."

"I'm a pretty boring person. I like reading. I like eating dinner out with friends. I like walking Henry. And I like to laugh."

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    1. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 25, 1964
    2. Place of Birth:
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, University of Florida at Gainesville, 1987

Read an Excerpt

That morning, after he discovered the tiger, Rob went and stood under the Kentucky Star Motel sign and waited for the school bus just like it was any other day. The Kentucky Star sign was composed of a yellow neon star that rose and fell over a piece of blue neon in the shape of the state of Kentucky. Rob liked the sign; he harbored a dim but abiding notion that it would bring him good luck.

Finding the tiger had been luck, he knew that. He had been out in the woods behind the Kentucky Star Motel, way out in the woods, not really looking for anything, just wandering, hoping that maybe he would get lost or get eaten by a bear and not have to go to school ever again. That’s when he saw the old Beauchamp gas station building, all boarded up and tumbling down; next to it, there was a cage, and inside the cage, unbelievably, there was a tiger—a real-life, very large tiger pacing back and forth. He was orange and gold and so bright, it was like staring at the sun itself, angry and trapped in a cage.

It was early morning and it looked like it might rain; it had been raining every day for almost two weeks. The sky was gray and the air was thick and still. Fog was hugging the ground. To Rob, it seemed as if the tiger was some magic trick, rising out of the mist. He was so astounded at his discovery, so amazed, that he stood and stared. But only for a minute; he was afraid to look at the tiger for too long, afraid that the tiger would disappear. He stared, and then he turned and ran back into the woods, toward the Kentucky Star. And the whole way home, while his brain doubted what he had seen, his heart beat out the truth to him. Ti-ger. Ti-ger. Ti-ger.

That was what Rob thought about as he stood beneath the Kentucky Star sign and waited for the bus. The tiger. He did not think about the rash on his legs, the itchy red blisters that snaked their way into his shoes. His father said that it would be less likely to itch if he didn’t think about it.

And he did not think about his mother. He hadn’t thought about her since the morning of the funeral, the morning he couldn’t stop crying the great heaving sobs that made his chest and stomach hurt. His father, watching him, standing beside him, had started to cry, too.

They were both dressed up in suits that day; his father’s suit was too small. And when he slapped Rob to make him stop crying, he ripped a hole underneath the arm of his jacket.

"There ain’t no point in crying," his father had said afterward. "Crying ain’t going to bring her back."

It had been six months since that day, six months since he and his father had moved from Jacksonville to Lister, and Rob had not cried since, not once.

The final thing he did not think about that morning was getting onto the bus. He specifically did not think about Norton and Billy Threemonger waiting for him like chained and starved guard dogs, eager to attack.

Rob had a way of not-thinking about things. He imagined himself as a suitcase that was too full, like the one that he had packed when they left Jacksonville after the funeral. He made all his feelings go inside the suitcase; he stuffed them in tight and then sat on the suitcase and locked it shut. That was the way he not-thought about things. Sometimes it was hard to keep the suitcase shut. But now he had something to put on top of it. The tiger.

So as he waited for the bus under the Kentucky Star sign, and as the first drops of rain fell from the sullen sky, Rob imagined the tiger on top of his suitcase, blinking his golden eyes, sitting proud and strong, unaffected by all the not-thoughts inside straining to come out.

The Tiger Rising. Copyright (c) 2001 Kate DiCamillo. Candlewick Press, Inc. Cambridge, MA

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Interviews & Essays

An Interview with Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo's debut children's book, Because of Winn-Dixie, put her on the map, garnering a Newbery Honor award and vast public and critical acclaim. Jamie Levine of Barnes & recently spoke to DiCamillo about her newfound success, her subsequent book, The Tiger Rising, and more.

Barnes & Congratulations on winning the Newbery Honor for Because of Winn-Dixie! Where were you when you heard the news? What was your reaction?

Kate DiCamillo: The Newbery Committee called me at 7am, and I had been up for a while, anyhow. As you know, there was a lot of buzz about the book, so at this point I'd started believing that it was a possibility that I might win something. For a long time I was able to go, "Oh, that's impossible," but the more people talked about it, the more I thought, What if? So, the night before was kind of like Christmas Eve when you're a kid. I kept on waking up and going, "I can't believe it's only 2 o'clock!" Finally, I got up and took a shower and I was writing when they called, because I figured I needed to just go ahead and do what I'd do on a normal day. And after I talked to them, I sat and stared at the wall for a while, and then some friends came over, and I ended up weeping on the kitchen floor. It's just been incredible and overwhelming. It's one of the biggest things that can happen in kids books. Now, each morning, I wake up and I think about it, and I think, Okay, I'm used to the idea now, but I'm really not. It's such a huge thing. When I was a kid, I knew to look for that medal on books. To think that my book will have that on its cover, and some kid will pick it up because of that, is just amazing. I can't get over it.

B& Does having won a Newbery Honor make it harder or easier for you to write now? I mean, is there more pressure -- or do you have more confidence?

KD: The pressure has been there ever since Winn-Dixie started getting reviewed. For a long time, I wrote thinking that it doesn't matter what I write because I probably won't get published. But as soon as the good reviews started coming in for Winn-Dixie and people started responding to it so much, then I had all these other things perched on my shoulder: What will my editor say? What will the critics say? Will the public like it? Before, none of those demons were there. So, everything carries a price, I guess. But hopefully I'll be able to shut them up and just go ahead and do what I want to do.

B& Well, personally, I loved your following book, The Tiger Rising. How did you come up with the idea?

KD: I also write short stories for adults. I finished a short story called "Leverage," in which Rob was kind of a secondary character. Then, for weeks after, he was kind of hanging around, and I couldn't figure out what he wanted. About the same time -- it was a couple of years ago -- there was so much rain in Florida, and Mom, who lives there, was telling me how one of the cages at the zoo had flooded and the tiger had gotten loose. And those two things connected. I thought, Oh, this is what Rob is waiting for. I just knew that those two things fit, and that's where I started. And I didn't know what was going to happen. One of the biggest and best surprises that's ever happened to me since I've been writing is when the bus stopped and Sistene got on. I thought, Oh boy, here is the person that is going to take over the story. I've never dealt with such a strong character before. And she really did want the whole book for herself, so it was a constant struggle to keep her in check.

B& Since Sistene is such a strong character, do you think you may revisit her in the future?

KD: That doesn't seem as improbable to me as going back to Because of Winn-Dixie, because I get asked that question so much: "Is there going to be a sequel?" and I think writing a sequel to Winn-Dixie would be abusing those characters. They're gone. But Sistene is still very much there, so yeah, that could be a possibility. I do feel a lot of trepidation about going back. But there's so much energy to her that I could see it happening.

B& How did you get started writing children's books?

KD: For a long time I wanted to be a writer, but it wasn't until I was 29 years old that it occurred to me that if I wanted to be a writer, I was going to have to write. So I just committed to doing two pages a day, five days a week, kind of treating it like a job. And I've been doing that since 1993. I started off with adult short stories, and still write them -- I've even have had some published in smaller literary magazines. But when I moved to Minneapolis, I got a job with a book wholesaler, and I ended up on the third floor, which was the children's floor. Serendipity, I guess. As I was filling orders, I started to pick up those books and think, I remember this. I did have that same bias that so many adult readers have: Why would you read a kids book? But I reread some of the stuff I read as a kid, and then I started branching out and reading newer stuff, like Katherine Paterson and Christopher Paul Curtis, and I just sort of fell in love with the form. And so I thought, I want to try this.

B& In Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tiger Rising, the main characters are both kids coming of age without mothers. Why were you compelled to develop them that way?

KD: It's funny, I got through all the interviews for Winn-Dixie without anyone asking that question. And now that it appears twice, everyone's starting to go, "Hmmm...." My father left when I was five, and though I certainly don't think about setting out to solve some problems for myself when I write, I think that what my subconscious is doing is approaching it in a roundabout way, kind of like with a mirror image, so it's the mother who's gone. And also, in both books, the main character has it out with the father, so it's probably whatever my troubled psyche is trying to mull over.

B& Making good friends -- be it with a person or a dog -- gets your protagonists through the worst of their problems and helps them heal. Were any of your own friendships inspiration for this?

KD: Absolutely! I've never been without a best friend. They've always been very wonderful, important relationships for me, even when I was a kid. And I don't think adults always realize how much friends mean to kids. They think it's just a casual undertaking. But you're friends with someone for a reason. My friends have been a saving grace in my life.

B& Can you name a few of your favorite children's books?

KD: I have so many. One of the pivotal books for me when I started reading kids books as an adult was Christopher Paul Curtis's The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963. When I read that, I could feel the door swinging open in my mind, because it was done so well. That was a laugh-out-loud funny book that dealt with serious issues, and I thought, Wow, this is what you can do with kids books. I love Karen Hesse. Love Katherine Paterson. Same thing there when I read The Bridge to Terabithia. There are so many books for kids that I've learned from. It's not only that they're moving me deeply, but they're pointing the way.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 286 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2008

    My first real book

    I read this book in third grade! I remember it so well because it was to first book I ever CRIED in!! This was such a good book and would recommend it to anyone!!!

    26 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2008

    The Best Book

    Action,adventure,sadness,friendship,love,hate,and even moments that will stop your breath.These are all the feelings you will encounter in this book.The book is by Kate DiCamillo.This is a great book and it would defiantly be worth your time. This book is about a boy named Rob who finds a tiger while walking through the woods one day!He and his friend,Sistine,a girl he meets from school, go on a mission to set it free. They get themselves into co much mischief that it seems like they will never get out.Will it be love that settles there differences or hate that will tear them apart?Find all this information out when you read The Tiger Rising. The thing i liked best about this book is that it shows you can always trust a friend and that you shouldn't be afraid of what your friend might think.And that is a very great life lesson. I recommend this book to kids 10 and older who like animals and adventure.

    24 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Emotionally Powerful!

    The Tiger Rising is a short book that packs an intense emotional wallop. A young boy struggles to contain and ignore the intense grief and various other problems he is facing. The story uses symbolism to show how the boy faces his grief and learns to set it free.

    14 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2005


    I loved the book, i was so interested that I could n't put down the book till 1:00AM and had work the next day! i totally recomend it!

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2012


    Read this last year and couldnt put it down as many time my teacher told me to. Theres only one curse word but you will get over it. The setting is in a dull town, i believe this boy lives with his dad at a hotel. If you ever read this book i know for sure you will like it. Because how the book is set up, and the choice of words that is in then the book. As a 10 year old im inpressed.
    ~Brianna Cole

    10 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2008

    made me cry

    this book was so good!<BR/>it was short which i like and it had a good story!

    10 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    Love this book

    This book is great you should read it my friend and i love it ,it has all differerent kinds of emotions it made me cry, READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2011


    very detailed, descriptive, and awesome book. I lloovvee it!!!

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2009


    This book made some interesting points such as the relationship between rob and the Tiger, the tiger and rob are kind of connected. Because it seems as if rob has a strong spirit inside of him (the tiger) that's waiting to get out and show everyone and every thing what he can really do, and the reason him and the tiger are connected is because rob is afraid to let the strong spirit inside of him to show, much like he is afraid to let the tiger out of his cage.
    I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good read, this book was a real page turner, because I was always wanting to know what was going to happen next, I really enjoyed this story because it had an interesting story line, in total this is a very good read.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2008

    a reviewer

    Our class read the novel, The Tiger Rising, by Kate DiCamillo. Some of us loved it, and others thought it was only okay. But our teacher thinks it is excellent and since she is the boss we are going with a 'recommended' rating. The main characters are Rob and Sistine. Both kids, who are in the 6th grade, are going through a hard time. At the beginning of the book, Rob¿s mother just died, and Sistine has just moved to Florida from Philadelphia because her parents got divorced. Both kids are being bullied in school. Rob copes with his hard time by pretending that his feelings are locked in an imaginary suitcase. He discovers a tiger locked in a cage behind the motel where he is living with his dad. The owner of the hotel, Beauchamp, asks Rob to feed the tiger a couple times a day, and gives Rob the keys to the cage. Why is there a tiger locked in a cage? What does Rob¿s friend Sistine think about the tiger? Will Rob and Sistine overcome their problems? Join Rob and Sistine as they figure out what to do, and learn to trust the grown-ups to help them.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011


    one of my faviriite books in the world it is so.worth the money get it i read it in 2 hours i cant put it down i would give millions of stars if i could

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011


    Its good not amazing

    4 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2011


    read it after you read these rewiews the best book i have read in a long time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2011


    I Luv It!!! This book it makes me cry at the end where the dad kills the tiger and the story is so good GOOD JOB Kate Dillimo

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2008


    Do not read and trust the review below, by 'Sam'. Read them all, and count the positive to the negative. This book is an excellent must-read!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I read this when I was about 12 years old and I loved it, I coul

    I read this when I was about 12 years old and I loved it, I couldn't put it down

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2013

    Love it

    This book is amazing love it almost brought me to years

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2001

    'It deserves more than 5 stars'

    His mother is six months dead, his father locked in emotional denial, his legs covered in itchy, red blisters,12-year-old Rob Horton has stuffed his feelings into the suitcase he packed after his mother's funeral for the move to the Kentucky Star Motel in Lister, Florida - Not until he finds the caged tiger in the woods behind the Kentucky Star motel. Rob goes to school like any normal kid, but gets a 'vacation' from his own principle because of the problem on his legs. Rob is so happy because he knows that it will clear. This gives him an oppurtunity to visit the tiger. He thought that it was a dream untill the owner of the motel gives him the keys to the tiger just to free it, but he meets a friend that demands him to free the tiger. Towards the end he finally gives in and lets it free. The cleaner of the motel spots them, and tells his dad, who gets his gun, and shoots it in it's head. If you want to know more, just read it!

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2013


    I readthis book t school on the nooks and its really good! I suggest you but it. Its worth the money guys,

    Bye, Hai

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

    Tiger rising

    Great sistine and willie may.sad when the tiger dues

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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