Dowson's supple, informative debut book spotlights a tigress, first viewed stalking through tall grass in search of a new den for her two cubs: "Her fiery, stripy coat seems to vanish like magic." As the cubs grow, they "fight" each other (with sheathed claws) and learn to hunt from their parent. At around 18 months, the young leave to find their own territories. Dowson supplements a poetic narrative ("Bigger than your fist, her pink nose sniffs the air. Her ears turn to listen for the smallest noise. Bright as torches, her large yellow eyes gleam all around") with straightforward facts about tigers, presented in a smaller, italicized font ("Tigers don't have a great sense of smell, but their eyesight is six times better than ours, and they have amazing hearing"). Together, the two textual strains provide a wealth of information about tigers' physical characteristics, behavior and hunting habits. A final note cites disturbing facts, including that fewer than 6,000 tigers are alive today. Eschewing the anthropomorphic style of her Bear Snores On and other works, Chapman delivers lifelike, closely focused renderings of the three tigers, often in convincing motion. On many pages, the text appears against subtly patterned backdrops that complement the artwork; occasional vignettes of the cubs prowling across these backdrops add a note of drama. Ages 5-8. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
The tigress, pictured on the jacket with her cubs, appears almost frighteningly real, or perhaps just affectionately natural. In the simple, brief, poetic text, she stalks half-hidden in the leaves and shadows, searching until she finds a safe new den for her baby cubs. While the tigress seeks and catches a wild pig for the family food, without the bloodshed shown, the cubs watch, play, then splash with her afterward in a cooling lake. By the time they are eighteen months old, the cubs are ready to go on their individual ways, vanishing into the midnight forest. While we follow the story of this tiger family, there are added notes in smaller italics on each double page to inform us of factual information relating to their lives. The double-page acrylic paintings supply appropriate jungle settings, bathing them in filtered sunlight or in moonlight blues. Both the vigorous maternal actions of the mother and the gentle gestures of the family interrelationships are portrayed to stimulate our emotions. Above all, the physical beauty of these endangered animals is depicted for our sympathetic attention. There is an added note about the threat of their extinction, along with a useful index. 2004, Candlewick Press, Ages 4 to 8.
Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Fact and fiction are artfully combined in this narrative about a tigress raising her two cubs until they are old enough to rely on themselves. The lyrical text tells of a wild mother tiger in her role as protector, provider and teacher to her young. Evocative illustrations show the tigers in action in their natural surroundings. Sumptuous spreads show the tigers perfectly camouflaged in a patch of forest, snuggling in their den, streaking through the tall grasses on the hunt for food, and relaxing in the cool water after a successful kill. Brief facts are found on each page in smaller, italicized type offset from the main text so as not to interrupt the narrative flow. This paperback edition includes an audio CD that runs for approximately fifteen minutes and includes 3 segments: a read-aloud with sound effects and music, a segment devoted to tiger facts, and a read-along guided by prompts. The audio selections are read by Alan Marriott, best known for his work providing voices on the popular television show
Bob the Builder. Here, he adopts a rich and pleasant voice well-suited to the tone of this beautiful book. The information section of the audio CD expands on the facts found in the italicized portion of the book and offers startling additional information, such as the fact that tigers live alone except when a mother is caring for her cubs. This pack is one of the selections in Candlewick's "Read, Listen & Wonder" series of nature stories, all of which are sold with accompanying audio CDs. Reviewer: Margaret Orto
Children's Literature - Margaret Orto
Using her stealth and hunting skills, Tigress finds a new and safer den for her two tiger cubs in this book (Candlewick, 2007) by Nick Dowson. They are always on the hunt to survive, and after 18 months as a family unit, each tiger goes off to live a solitary existence. Jane Chapman's realistic paintings are vivid and fluid. The compelling, captivating text is read by Alan Marriott with background music and sound effects adding to the enjoyment; page turn signals are available on a read-along track, but there are no sound effects. The shorter second track focuses on interesting facts about tigers. This package will be a good addition to school and public libraries to introduce informational writing, and would be a fine choice for research papers.-
Mercedes Smith, Kernan Trail Elementary School, Jacksonville, FL
A tigress raises two cubs in this brief, poetic picture book that lends itself equally well to a read-aloud or independent reading. Sensuous present-tense text presents the tigress as mother, hunter, and, above all, force of nature. Chapman's bright, full-bleed acrylics make the most of the text, lush spreads giving equal weight to beauty and savagery (a stop-motion kill is most effective), the primary type set against faint paisley patterns that move in and out of the jungle background. Italicized snippets provide hard facts that supplement the more emotive narrative: "[The cubs] are too small to walk far, so the tigress uses tooth power" is glossed by, "Tiger cubs have loose skin on their necks, which makes them easy to lift." The whole takes itself seriously as nonfiction, an index (with a little lesson in how to use it) providing access to the paged text that precedes it. A brief author's note gives a few more facts about tigers and their current endangered status today, and it is, refreshingly, as easy for primary graders to read as the main narrative. A lovely, solid package. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-8)