Gr 1-4-- Koko and All Ball, move over. Here is a new kitten to charm young readers. Tara is a Bengal tiger cub raised in captivity at Marine World Africa in California. Through brilliant, full-color photos and an easy, narrative text, readers witness her growth from newborn cub to adult tiger. The photography is full of texture, color, and life. Some shots of Tara as a kitten are positively endearing. The tiger's life story is related with factual attention to behavior, development, and care, enlivened with humorous details about her idiosyncracies and the humans' affectionate reactions to her. The endangered status of the Bengal tiger is mentioned. Consistent in style with the author's When You Fight the Tiger (1984; o.p.) and Watching Them Grow (1979, both Little; o.p.), this title has a comparatively condensed text and a much lower reading level. One disturbing omission is an explanation for Tara being taken from her mother at five days old. But the positive, loving treatment of the subject prevails in this excellent introduction to wildlife preservation. --Valerie Lennox, Jacksonville Public Library, FL
This striking yet simple photo-essay follows the first nine months in the life of Tara, a Bengal tiger being raised at the nursery of Marine World Africa USA, in Vallejo, California. Hewett describes the special care and training given Tara by several human foster mothers, who feed, groom, and nurture the cub during her first months. Because Tara will eventually live with others of her species on Tiger Island and will have an ongoing relationship with her human trainers, she must learn safe and appropriate behaviors around people, and the author stresses the efforts made to ensure that she does. Hewett includes information about wild tigers, but focuses on captive animals protected by these new-style zoos, even as their natural habitats are disappearing. The clear and engaging photos capture Tara in a variety of appealing poses--peering over the top of a play pen, teething on an old shoe, and learning to explore the world around her. A fascinating choice for young browsers, this will also be welcomed by teachers planning units on zoos or endangered species.