The Tiger Rising

The Tiger Rising

by Kate DiCamillo
4.1 289

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The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo

A National Book Award finalist by Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo.

Walking through the misty Florida woods one morning, twelve-year-old Rob Horton is stunned to encounter a tiger—a real-life, very large tiger—pacing back and forth in a cage. What’s more, on the same extraordinary day, he meets Sistine Bailey, a girl who shows her feelings as readily as Rob hides his. As they learn to trust each other, and ultimately, to be friends, Rob and Sistine prove that some things—like memories, and heartache, and tigers—can’t be locked up forever. Featuring a new cover illustration by Stephen Walton.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763649449
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 09/08/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 133,128
Lexile: 520L (what's this?)
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

Kate DiCamillo is one of America’s most beloved storytellers. She is the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and a two-time Newbery Medalist. Born in Philadelphia, she grew up in Florida and now lives in Minneapolis, where she faithfully writes two pages a day, five days a week.

The theme of hope and belief amid impossible circumstances is a common thread in much of Kate DiCamillo’s writing. In her instant #1 New York Times bestseller The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, a haughty china rabbit undergoes a profound transformation after finding himself facedown on the ocean floor—lost, and waiting to be found. The Tale of Despereaux—the Newbery Medal–winning novel that later inspired an animated adventure from Universal Pictures—stars a tiny mouse with exceptionally large ears who is driven by love to become an unlikely hero. And The Magician’s Elephant, an acclaimed and exquisitely paced fable, dares to ask the question, What if?

Kate DiCamillo’s own journey is something of a dream come true. After moving to Minnesota from Florida in her twenties, homesickness and a bitter winter helped inspire Because of Winn-Dixie—her first published novel, which, remarkably, became a runaway bestseller and snapped up a Newbery Honor. “After the Newbery committee called me, I spent the whole day walking into walls,” she says. “I was stunned. And very, very happy.”

Her second novel, The Tiger Rising, went on to become a National Book Award Finalist. Since then, the master storyteller has written for a wide range of ages. She is the author of six books in the Mercy Watson series of early chapter books, which stars a “porcine wonder” with an obsession for buttered toast. The second book in the series, Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride, was named a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book by the American Library Association in 2007. She is also the co-author of the Bink and Gollie series, which celebrates the tall and short of a marvelous friendship. The first book, Bink&Gollie, was awarded the Theodor Seuss Giesel Award in 2011.
She also wrote a luminous holiday picture book, Great Joy.

Her novel Flora&Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures won the 2014 Newbery Medal. It was released in fall 2013 to great acclaim, including five starred reviews, and was an instant New York Times bestseller. Flora&Ulysses is a laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format—a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations, all rendered in black and white by up-and-coming artist K. G. Campbell. It was a 2013 Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner and was chosen by Amazon, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and Common Sense Media as a Best Book of the Year.

Kate DiCamillo, who was named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for 2014–2015, says about stories, “When we read together, we connect. Together, we see the world. Together, we see one another.” Born in Philadelphia, the author lives in Minneapolis, where she faithfully writes two pages a day, five days a week.


Minneapolis, Minnesota

Date of Birth:

March 25, 1964

Place of Birth:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


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


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.

Customer Reviews

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The Tiger Rising 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 289 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
LadyHester More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)
Rodney Born More than 1 year ago
very detailed, descriptive, and awesome book. I lloovvee it!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing love it almost brought me to years
Susan Devig More than 1 year ago
read it after you read these rewiews the best book i have read in a long time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mary Lueras More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great sistine and willie may.sad when the tiger dues
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please right reviews but dont spoil it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is sad but good when i read it i thought wow that was awsome
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book was so good!
it was short which i like and it had a good story!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
MnM97 More than 1 year ago
I read this when I was about 12 years old and I loved it, I couldn't put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I readthis book t school on the nooks and its really good! I suggest you but it. Its worth the money guys, Bye, Hai
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great because it is full of twist and turns you would never find them coming! I love this book
Linda Fairchild More than 1 year ago
Please remove that review revealing the end of the book. I was looking forward to buying the book, will now pass.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book make more books and series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in second or third grade and im on level u to v in reading have eny non violent sugushtions for me i like adventures
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
( previous song at live again res 1)The sun had set... me? On the floor... i had fallen in the darkness... tortured... then a light. In the sky. CLIMBING HIGHER AND HIGHER! A TIGER ON FIRE! BELLOWED A ROAR... i now know what i must do... TRIED TO DESTROY ME... NOW I will destroy YOU! HIGHER AND HIGHER! A TIGER ON FIRE! and that is me. Climbing the sky... like an elevator. Nator, im coming to get you. BECUASE I AM THE NOVA STAR! SHINING THROUGH THE DARKNESS... imortal... AND YOUR GOING DOWN! LIKE THE STARS AT DAY... or the sun at night... BECAUSE I SHINE BRIGHT! BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN... FASTER THAN LIGHT! OWAOH-OH-OH! HIGHER AND HIGHER! A TIGER ON FIRE! She bellowed then and there; "beware, for the great Nova is out tonight, and she is looking to fight!" So get out of siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight! (For more songs go to more res 1)