The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo and Gaiman/Vess News


I’ve gotta stop reading these tear jerkers! The Tiger Rising was another great book by Kate DiCamillo. I picked this one up after reading The Tale of Despereaux and falling in love with that one. I’ve become a huge fan of her after reading these two books and can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

The Tiger Rising centers around a young boy by the name of Rob who keeps his emotions wrapped up inside. His mother has died recently and he and his father have moved from Kentucky to Florida so that his father could escape the heartbreak of losing her. They now live in the Kentucky Star Motel. His father has instilled in Rob that he should not show tears over his mother’s death and that he should be strong, so Rob packs all of his emotions away “into a suitcase.” He does this in all aspects of his life. He’s picked on at school and instead of getting upset, he ignores it. Instead of voicing his dislike of anything, he pretends to not be bothered by it.

There’s a new girl in town by the name of Sistine and she has the opposite problem of Henry. She has too much anger and displays it outwardly to everyone and comes off as quite arrogant. In a twist of events, Rob and Sistine become friends.

Rob has made a discovery that there is a tiger being kept in a cage in the woods behind the motel that he and his father are living in and shares this secret with Sistine. Thoughts and emotions are shared between the friends and a wise maid by the name of Willie May who works for the motel.

The Tiger Rising, like Despereaux, faces issues head on. Kate DiCamillo is not afraid to work with strong emotions and when she does address them, she does so beautifully. This book is written wonderfully and can be enjoyed by anyone. It’s a story of being trapped in a cage…having all of those emotions locked up inside begging to be let out. I can see it being especially meaningful to a child who has gone through loss of any kind at a young age.

One of my favorite passages in the book:

I know something that’s in a cage,” said Rob, pushing the words past the tightness in his throat.

Willie May nodded her head, but she wasn’t listening. She was looking past Rob, past the white sheet, past the laundry room, past the Kentucky Star.

“Who don’t?” she said finally. “Who don’t know something in a cage?”

In other quick news, Charles Vess has announced a collaboration he has been working on for Harper Collins. It is a 32 page children’s picture book – A poem by Neil Gaiman called Blueberry Girl. Yay! Doesn’t look like we should expect it too soon though, but it does look cool!

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11 Responses

  1. I loved The Tiger Rising when I read it earlier this year. Beautiful story. DiCamillo’s writing really touches me.

    That was one of my favourite passages too. 🙂

    The Blueberry Girl sounds great and the illustrations look like they will be as wonderful as I’d expect them to be – I’ll be buying that for myself and as gifts I imagine!

  2. It sounds like I definitely have to check out Kate DiCamillo! From the way you described it, I think I will like this one even more than I’d like “The Tale of Despereaux”. I plan on reading both, though!

    And yay for the Neil Gaiman/Charles Vess news!

  3. Glad you enjoyed it. I was at Barnes and Noble yesterday picking up a couple of magazines that I had been looking for and I thought ‘I can’t just buy magazines, I’m at a bookstore’, so I ended up picking up a book I will review soon AND a hardback copy of Edward Tulane (I had previously read a library version). I just knew I would be kicking myself someday if I didn’t own that one in hardback.

    The Blueberry Girl project is exciting. I really liked the Dave McKean/Ray Bradbury collaboration on The Homecoming last year and this sounds like a project similar in spirit.

  4. Quix, Her books are great! I’m enjoying them. I’m sure I’ll be buying The Blueberry Girl as gifts as well…I a few little ones in the family that should know all about Gaiman and Vess 😉

    Nymeth, Her writing is so good Nymeth! I think I’d recommend Despereaux over this one, though at the same time I don’t really know because they’re totally different stories…this one was great though. You really can’t go wrong!

    Carl, I want to get all of her books in hardback! I have Despereaux and Tiger Rising in softcover…blah..But even the softcover version of Despereaux is presented beautifully.

    I’m looking forward to the Blueberry Girl…I’m reading The Homecoming for the RIP challenge! Have it sitting on my shelf!

  5. I am with Nymeth, will try and check her out when I get through some more of my TBR list.

  6. I agree, the trade for Despereax is one of the best trades I have ever seen.

    Just read and reviewed a book I am sure you would enjoy…once you get done with that huge pile of to-reads, of course! 😉

  7. Chris – Homecoming was the first I read for last years RIP challenge and boy did it start of my RIP reading in just the right way. I hope you enjoy it too.

    Blueberry looks like another wonderful Gaiman/Vess collaboration that I know I will pick up. Thanks for the link too.

    As for Tiger Rising it was my first Kate DiCamillo book so it defiently has a special place in my heart. I agree with you wanting all her books in hardcover. Right now I only own Edward Tulley. In fact I read a library copy of Tiger Rising.

    Lastly, I will agree with Quixotic. Great passage from the novel.

  8. Rhinoa, I think you’d like this one. Definitely check her out when you get a chance.

    Carl, heading over there in a sec! Just what I need…another book on the TBR stack 😉

    Jeff, I’m looking forward to The Homecoming…especially since it’s illustrated by McKean!

    I really, really enjoyed Tiger Rising. The ending was so emotional…really choked me up. Great book, no surprise there!

  9. ooh… my eyes already got a little wobbly as i got to the second paragraph of your review!

    as nymeth says, dicamillo is a writer i definitely have to check out!

  10. She’s really great Jean Pierre…I can’t get enough of her books now and she just can’t write them fast enough for me! Nearly every book she writes gets an award and I can see why. You’d enjoy her.

  11. cool – i’ll definitely have to to check her out!

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