What You Need to Know:
• You’re never too young to learn how to save the life of an animal.
• While tigers are the stars, there are many other animals featured in this book.
• A picture book for the older child, this book includes a lot of details about animals and extinction.
• In the back of the book, you will find a list of online resources as well as a helpful index.
• Illustrator Vicky White also worked as a zookeeper for several years.
Can We Save the Tiger?raises an important question that can lead to a valuable conversation. It’s all about extinction and the role that humans play in the process. The premise is that because of changes that we’ve made to the environment, some animals have become extinct. The dodo is one of those animals that we will never see again. There are also animals, like the tiger, that are endangered or close to extinction. Some are in trouble because they seem to be competing with humans for space. They’re killed because they’re a nuisance or because we want their skins, bones or meat. Others, like the Patula snail, don’t take up much room at all but are killed inadvertently when humans bring new predators to their land. Sometimes animals are in danger because they get caught in fishing nets, contract diseases spread by humans or are affected by climate change. According to the author, even “ugly” animals like the vulture are at risk. Once again, humans are unintentionally causing a problem by giving a medicine to cows that happens to be poisonous to vultures. You’d think this one would be easy to solve, but it is complicated by the involvement of government and big business. While most of the book focuses on the plight of the animals, the author does touch upon the human side of the equation. He points out some of the reasons why we may harm living things, and acknowledges that we sometimes do the “right” thing to save animals from extinction.
Exposure to these exotic animals will remind readers that they are a part of something much bigger than what they see around them every day. The beautifully detailed illustrations, done in pencil and oil paint, also add further emphasis to the written text. The animals seem to look sadly out from each page, perhaps wondering how we could let things go so wrong. Notice the endpapers with white lines that look an awful lot like scratch marks. Are these animals trying to claw their way out of a bad situation? As to the text, I also have to mention that the repeated use of the phrase “these ones” really bothered me. In a book that is trying to set a good example, it just doesn’t sound right!
This book is filled with many details including where the animals are found, when they were last seen, their life spans, and their habits. There are lots of numbers and statistics and even some challenging names like rosy eglantine and quokka. If you child is ready for all that and is a big animal lover, then this book should be right up their alley. While some of the information presented here is conjecture and the author’s point of view, this book can serve as a starting point to understand and form opinions about climate, government, conservation and animal rights.
Author: Martin Jenkins Illustrator: Vicky White Published: 2011, 56 pages
Themes: Animals, Compassion/Empathy, Environmentalism, Ethics, Government, and Non-Fiction
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