Sunday, March 27, 2011

CAN WE SAVE THE TIGER? by Martin Jenkins

Can We Save the Tiger?I have been using Goodreads since January pretty regularly. I use it to log my own reading and to pay attention to what friends are reading.  I am finding that this is a huge resource for finding great new books.  When I get an update, I check for books my friends have added and I keep my eyes open for those books that people give a 4 or 5 rating too. I add all of those to my list.  Last week, this was exactly how I discovered the book CAN WE SAVE THE TIGER? by Martin Jenkins.  Donalyn Miller had read it and given it a high rating.  Since I am always looking for good nonfiction for children, I knew this was one I had to read.  I should have noticed that it was written by the author of another of my favorite nonfiction books, THE EMPEROR'S EGG but I didn't right away.

WOW! This book is amazing.  There are so many reasons I like it. First of all, it is a great nonfiction narrative--one that is meant to be read cover to cover. One of the things that has me concerned lately, about kids' nonfiction reading, is the fact that so much skimming and scanning, without ever reading whole texts, is happening. So, finding books that are meant to be read from cover to cover has been a goal for me. Also, I am always looking for great nonfiction read alouds. This one BEGS to be read aloud. As a matter of fact, I made my family listen to much of it once I realized how amazing it was.  And, yes, they loved it too.  And, this is a great mentor text for kids who are writing nonfiction.  The writing is powerful and every line is crafted well. A great model for nonfiction writers.

But most importantly, this book taught me so much about endangered animals. The author pulled me in from the first page and told me stories about animals. He helped me understand the complexity of the many reasons animals become extinct.  And he shared ways people have helped and are now trying to help the animals who are in danger. No matter how much you know about a topic like this, there is so much complexity to the issues and Jenkins does a great job at sharing many of those.

This book is accessible to kids and I am confident they will love it.  It is packed with information embedded in stories that help you care deeply about each animal discussed.  The illustrations are mostly sketches that add powerful images to the text. The illustrations show the beauty of the animals as well as the dangers they face.  At the end of the book are web resources to go to for more information.

This is my favorite book of the moment-one of the best nonfiction books I've read in a while.  I want everyone I know to buy it and to read it.  It really seems like the perfect nonfiction book to me. I am so happy to have discovered it! Thanks, Donalyn:-)


  1. Donalyn is on my Goodreads friends list and this book somehow slipped by me. Thanks for the review! I'm definitely going to check it out.

  2. This sounds like a powerful book for my class as we begin our research tomorrow. Many of my students chose endangered animals and want to search at a a higher level why this happens as well as how they can possibly make a difference. Thanks for sharing-

  3. 3 things came to mind when I read this:
    1) I get email updates for GoodReads also so I need to pay more attention to them
    2) I need to do a better job tracking my own reading on Goodreads as well
    3) This book does sound perfect for the big questions we are asking as we begin research. Getting on Amazon right now so I have it for Wed. :)

    Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention!

  4. Thanks for the recommendation. Always looking for powerful nonfiction mentors, and this sounds like an exceptional one!

  5. My classroom library is hurting forvpowerful nonfiction mentor texts. This sounds like a must-have addition. Thank you for the recommendation.

  6. Hello, I am a future teacher. I was wondering, how do you get students into a text when they don't seem interesting. What are some strategies to engage the students?

    Thank you so much for your help!

  7. This sounds like a must read. I often talk on my blog about the fact that tigers may not be around for our grandchildren to see.

  8. Have you seen Martin and Vicky's previous collaboration, Ape? It is just as good!


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