Sunday, March 6, 2011

Can We Save the Tiger? by Martin Jenkins (ages 6 - 11)

Children at our school love learning about animals. They're fascinated by the pictures of animals, but also are interested in learning facts and information about different animals. Can We Save the Tiger? is a striking book whose illustrations will draw children right in. But encourage your children to stay awhile with it, reading and finding out about how animals like the tiger are on the verge of becoming extinct, and how it is too late for other animals.
Can We Save the Tiger?Can We Save the Tiger?
by Martin Jenkins
illustrated by Vicky White
MA: Candlewick Press, 2011
ages 6 - 11
available on Amazon and at your local public library
Using straightforward but compelling language, Jenkins starts by introducing the concept of what makes animals extinct. "Some of the other animals and plants that we share the Earth with have coped with the changes very well. But some haven't. In fact, some have coped so badly that they're not here any more. They're extinct./ This means we'll never see a live dodo.../ or a Steller's sea cow, or a marsupial wolf, or a great auk..." (pp. 6-8) With clear writing, an almost conversational tone, and large print size, this book makes a great choice for 3rd through 5th graders reading nonfiction on their own.

Jenkins next turns to species that are barely hanging on: tigers, Asian elephants, sloth bears and the partula snail. Jenkins explains the pressure that humans put on large animals like the tiger, who need plenty of room and prey for hunting. Fierce tigers usually eat deer and other wild animals, but when human developments spread into tigers' territory, conflicts arise. I found Jenkins' description of the problems with introduced species particularly interesting.

Vicky White's illustrations, especially with the large scale of the book, will draw children right in. Using pencils and oil painting, White portrays animals close up in many different positions, often spreading across both pages for dramatic effect. The extinct animals are shown in soft, grey colors, and other animals like the Giant African Land Snail almost gleam in their realistic portrayal.

Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot (Scientists in the Field Series)Jenkins ends on a positive note, emphasizing the hard work of conservationists who are hard at work saving different species. He recognizes that this is complicated work, but urges young people to act and help save endangered animals. If you and your child find this topic interesting, follow it up with Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot, by Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop. Part of the Scientists in the Field series, this is an in-depth look at how scientists, conservationists and volunteers are working hard to bring an endangered species back from the brink of extinction.

For more interesting nonfiction books to share with your children, head over to Picture Book of the Day for Nonfiction Monday, where bloggers share great reviews and ideas for parents and children.

The review copy of Can We Save the Tiger? was kindly sent by Candlewick Press. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion will go to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). Thank you for your support!


  1. These books looks great! We will have to put them on our list to get for the library. Thanks for posting!

  2. I love tigers, like so many animals in the jungle they are so majestic, but I prefer them to be in their natural habitat. Hopefully books like this will encourage children to work to save these beautiful animals before it is to late. Thanks for making us aware of this book - after all, extinct is forever.