Book Reviews Non-fiction Picture Books

Can We Save the Tiger? by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Vicky White

December 19, 2011

Can We Save the Tiger? is a gorgeous picture book. When I first flipped through it, I was taken by how amazing the drawings were. Then, when I sat down to actually read it, I couldn’t believe that I was just as taken by the text. This is a masterful offering.

It begins by presenting animals that have become extinct (a reason that drawings, rather than photographs, work so well for this book), then moves to ones that are hovering on the verge of extinction. The story about why the partula snails are nearly extinct fascinated me (humans introduced other large snails that started eating crops, so they brought ANOTHER snail to eat the second snails, but they mainly ate the partula snails instead of the crop-eating snails. Whoops).  

This is a book that Ella liked looking at for the pictures (if there is an animal, she doesn’t care if it’s a book about removing fleas from dogs), but it is quite a text-heavy book and definitely aimed at older children.

It reminds me a little of So You Want to be President? in that it’s long, but would really be a great read-aloud for an older class because it’s written in such an accessible and fascinating way. I loved it the first time I read it, and I’ve loved it more every time I’ve reread it. It’d be such a great part of a lesson about animals, extinction, cause and effect, unintended consequences, and probably about fifty other topics.

Did I mention how much I love this book?

Copy checked out from my local library

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  • Reply Kimberly December 19, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    I've been surprised how many current ecological crises (be it animal or plant) started with biologists trying to fix a smaller problem…

  • Reply Abby December 20, 2011 at 1:09 am

    What I loved about this book is how intimate it felt. From the sketchbook-y art to the conversational tone, I felt like a friend was sitting down with me to have a conversation about endangerment. I would not at all be surprised to find a shiny Sibert sticker on this one, come January!

  • Reply Lady Susan December 21, 2011 at 2:00 am

    Our library system has a children's book blog that the librarians contribute to. However, it is useless because I have no idea whether or not the book is appropriate or not to read to Finn. (i.e. text heavy etc.). I have mentioned that to them but to no avail.

    Your reviews are much better and infinitely more useful.

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