Reviews for Tiger Rising : Library Edition


Publishers Weekly Reviews 2001 July #2
DiCamillo's evocative, emotionally rich story about a boy caught in the powerful grip of grief is given even more dramatic depth via Baker's (Thirteen Days; The Tailor of Panama) sensitive and colorful performance. Rob has become a "pro at not-crying" in the six months since his mother died. Rob's father hasn't allowed such displays and has moved himself and Rob to a new town and a new start. But Lister, Fla., hasn't been so great. Rob is plagued by a mysterious rash on his legs and endures the endless taunts of bullies; his father struggles as the maintenance man at a local motel owned by a demanding blowhard. Everything changes, however, when Rob stumbles upon a real-life caged tiger in the woods behind the motel and shares his discovery with Sistine, a spitfire of a girl who has just moved to town. The tiger soon stands in for the wild pain and anger that have overwhelmed Rob and Sistine, and they become determined to find a way to free the animal (and their feelings). Baker's pacing is perfect and his turn as sassy, no-nonsense motel housekeeper Willie May crackles. His other characterizations shine as well, especially the often haughty-sounding Sistine and the brief, humorous bits as unctuous Southerners at Rob's school. Ages 8-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2001 August
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.

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