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Tiger's Fall

Overview

A feisty little girl learns that physical disability can't limit her ability to make a difference.

Lupe loves nothing better than riding her father's horse, El Diablo. Fearless and agile, she rampages around her rural village in Mexico like a tigrilla (little tiger), which is her father's nickname for her. But one day Lupe falls while climbing a tree. Paralyzed from the waist down, she will never again be able to ride El Diablo. Her life might ...

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Overview

A feisty little girl learns that physical disability can't limit her ability to make a difference.

Lupe loves nothing better than riding her father's horse, El Diablo. Fearless and agile, she rampages around her rural village in Mexico like a tigrilla (little tiger), which is her father's nickname for her. But one day Lupe falls while climbing a tree. Paralyzed from the waist down, she will never again be able to ride El Diablo. Her life might as well be over, she thinks.

At first Lupe is filled with rage and self-pity. Her family brings her to a center run by and for disabled people, to recuperate. Despite the evidence around her, she refuses to believe that disabled people can be happy and self-sufficient, and she can't believe that these people think their lives are worth living. But slowly the people and the spirit of the center help Lupe realize that she, too, has something to offer.

Award-winning author/illustrator Molly Bang brings emotional honesty and bravery to this compelling, fact-based story of coming to terms with disability.

After eleven-year-old Lupe is partially paralyzed in an accident in her Mexican village, other handicapped people help her realize that her life can still have purpose.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Inspired to write this story after spending time at PROJIMO, a center for disabled people near Mazatlan, Mexico, Molly Bang bases her book on true incidents that happened there about fifteen years ago. Bang's black line illustrations show details well and help readers visualize the Mexican countryside, the people, and the center to good effect. Using the fictionalized Lupe, who is paralyzed in a fall from a tree and taken to the center, Bang's didactic prose tells shows how a child deals with the knowledge that she will never walk again¾anger, frustration, tears, depression, self-pity, and disgust. But Lupe sees how others in this village of people, some with disabilities, help each other, create the tools they need to get around, and support independence of each other, until she gradually becomes a helping hand herself. The graphic descriptions of pressure sores, elimination difficulties, and mobility challenges may be hard for some readers to handle but are definitely a part of a paralytic's reality. Bang's omniscient narrator knows what everyone thinks, which occasionally gets in the way, and the messages she lets her characters speak insure that the reader doesn't miss the purpose of this village project. Still, PROJIMA is an example of poor people addressing their needs as best they can, but the program has been in jeopardy for the last few years. In an afterword, Bang notes that the drug traffic has caused more than a third of the village to move away and people are now afraid to bring their children to this rehabilitation center. However, the hospital in Mazatlan now helps the poor for the cost of medicine, so some changes in public health have occurred in the last fifteen years.2001, Henry Holt,
— Susan Hepler
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-PROJIMO, a center for disabled people in Mexico, was the inspiration for this well-intentioned story. Eleven-year-old Lupe, nicknamed Tigrilla Loco, Crazy Little Tiger, is fearless. On a dare, she climbs a purportedly haunted tree and, losing her footing, falls and is paralyzed from the waist down. After an operation in the public hospital, which leaves her family penniless, an infection threatens Lupe's life. She is then taken to a village-based health center where the disabled care for one another and where she slowly begins the healing process of both her body and her spirit. Her initial emotional responses of self-pity, hopelessness, and anger are realistically portrayed, if somewhat forced. Through several experiences, one in which she heals a donkey's wounds, the girl slowly begins to see the possibilities of what she can do, but as a character she remains distant. The awkward black line drawings do little to enhance the appearance of the book. Bang's respect for the courageous work of PROJIMO is evident, but the plot has an underlying purposeful tone regarding health care in Mexico that limits its child appeal.-Caroline Ward, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Set in Mexico, this tear-inducing tale tells the story of an 11-year-old girl's physical and mental recovery after falling out of a tree. "Your daughter broke her back and is paralyzed from the waist down," the doctor coldly tells Lupe's shocked, grieving parents. "There is nothing more to be done." And so begins Lupe's heart-wrenching journey from despair and helplessness to acceptance and competence. After nearly dying from an infected pressure sore, Lupe is sent to a residential rehabilitation center. In her first novel, Bang's (Harley, p. 414, etc.) simple, matter-of-fact language allows the reader to see the real nitty-gritty of Lupe's situation without being too graphic. "The pressure sore on Lupe's back wasn't pretty. It was full of pus and blood and it was oozing around the edges." As Lupe begins to recover physically, her ferocious spirit-her family moniker is Tigrilla Loca, or Crazy Little Tiger-does too. Her initial act of self-directed behavior comes when she cleans and dresses an open sore on an injured donkey, utilizing the knowledge she gleaned from her own treatment. It's a major turning point for Lupe, the first time she's felt capable since her injury. Lupe is soon given the job of helping a severely disabled youngster and realizes that the ability to help someone else is a gift, not a gift she would have selected over having the use of her legs, but a gift nevertheless. Unsentimental yet moving, Bang's story lets the reader see and feel what it might be like to be in Lupe's shoes. (Fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805066890
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 9/1/2001
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 112
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 8.78 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Molly Bang is the author and illustrator of more than 20 books for children. She has won numerous awards, including Caldecott Honors for three of her books: When Sophie Gets Angry, Really Really Angry; Ten, Nine, Eight; and The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher. Her book Common Ground: The Water, Earth, and Air We Share won the very first Giverny Prize for Best Children's Science Picture Book. She lives in Falmouth, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California.

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