The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
As the new boy in town, living in a motel with his near-silent father, young Rob Horton literally hasn’t unpacked. He keeps a virtual suitcase tightly locked with his deepest feelings and thoughts, most notably memories about his mother who passed away six months ago from cancer. Father and son are trying to start anew in Lister, a small town in Florida, far away from anyone who knew them when they were an intact family of three.
On the schoolbus and at school, Rob is regularly bullied, but briefly finds respite when another new student arrives – big city girl Sistine Bailey (yes, named after the Chapel) from Philadelphia, who can’t wait for her estranged father to come reclaim her from this miserable small town that her jilted mother reluctantly calls home.
When Rob is sent home indefinitely by the nervous school principal reacting to other parents who are worried that the inexplicable rash covering Rob’s legs might be contagious, Sistine unexpectedly arrives the next day with his assignments. Against his intentions, Rob can’t stop talking when Sistine is around, telling her things he dares not voice even to himself. He even reveals the caged tiger in the forest … and together, the children hope to set the wild animal free.
Tiger is another swift, memorable tale from mega award-winning Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane) to share with your kids (especially if you happen to be chauffering them around during these hot summer days). In the recorded version, read languorously by Dylan Baker, it’s a mere three CDs. With a gentle, slight southern drawl, Dylan perfectly captures the heart-wrenching loss, and its effects on both children and adults as they each try to survive their trauma in different ways.
Readers: Middle Grade