Sunday, March 17, 2013

Riding the Tiger

Bunting, E., & Frampton, D. (2001). Riding the tiger. New York: Clarion Books.
(Thanks to Ashley Hughett)

Esteemed author Eve Bunting brings all her insight, empathy, and storytelling skill to this powerful allegorical tale, set in the streets of an unnamed city and illustrated with striking woodcuts. Danny, new to town, is proud when a glittery-eyed tiger invites him for a ride. He climbs up onto the tiger's massive back, and together they cruise the neighborhood. Everyone gives them respect — shopkeepers and passerby, even other kids. Danny feels powerful and much older than ten. Soon, though, he realizes it isn't respect people feel for him and the tiger — it's fear. And when he decides to get down off the tiger's back, he discovers it's a lot harder than climbing on. Whether the tiger is interpreted to represent gangs, drugs, or something else altogether, this book is sure to provoke discussions about temptation, peer pressure, and conformity.

This is a very good book on multiple levels, while the reading level is adequate for lower level readers, content would be great for upper grades as well. Bunting's use of metaphor for a complex social issue is outstanding. This book looks at multiple issues many children face and have them examine it on a critical perspective. Simply the idea of helping children examine perspective in social situations would warrant a good book. The artwork is also a very good example of modern woodcut prints. While enjoying the look of woodcut, in my opinion, is somewhat a matter of preference the arts color and style support the text and carry the story well.

No comments: