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Tiger Boy: 05/21/16

Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins

Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins is set near the Sundarbans, a natural preserve in the Bengali region of India. It's an area where tigers are supposed to have a safe place to live but the reality is that there are poachers willing and able to lure animals out. It's also a place of poverty.

In the nearby village, Neel's having trouble with math. He doesn't want to do his homework. He has other pressing worries, like where the next meal is coming. He also, like any kid his age, would rather play.

Neel's sick and tired of his mother and the schoolmaster telling him he has to get good marks to get a good education. They seem to have picked him as the kid to get the scholarship to go to a boarding school where he'll get a chance to better himself that most kids in his village won't get.

In the meantime, word has gotten out that a tiger cub has escaped the fencing of the preserve. The mother tiger, still on the other side of the fence is growing frantic. The worry is that she's find a way over or through the fence and go on a rampage in the search for her cub. Neel, who knows the swampy area between the preserve and village better than anyone, believes he can find the cub before anything bad happens.

Tiger Boy is a relatively short book but perfect for introducing children to a number of themes: education, poverty, poaching, and endangered species. With an easy flowing text it and numerous illustrations, it would do well as a read aloud in a classroom setting.

Four stars

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