fact and fiction: tiger, tiger burning bright

Can We Save The Tiger? by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Vicky White

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Dorje’s Stripes by Anshumani Ruddra, illustrated by Gwangjo and Jung-a Park

These two titles both address the topic of extinction, and in each title it is the artwork that most strongly pleads the case. In Can We Save the Tiger?, Vicky White’s pencil drawings are sparingly augmented with color. In a time when high quality photos of animals are relatively easy to take and distribute, there is something about illustrations that gives these animals the charming wonder of storybook characters, and may perhaps make a certain kind of child connect with them even more strongly than they would if viewing a photograph. White’s dodo could be cousin to Tenniel’s Dodo from Carroll’s Alice books, and her sleeping, lurking tigers bring to mind the great feline Aslan from the Narnia books. Yet this book is decidedly non fiction, and it includes an index and a list of more resources for readers to peruse.

Djore’s Stripes covers much the same territory via an original narrative that reads much like a fairy tale or fable. Each of the stripes on Djore, a tiger who lives with monks, represents a number of tigers. As tigers disappear, so do Djore’s stripes; as the population slowly recovers, Djore’s stripes follow in kind. The watercolor artwork by Gwangjo and Jung-a Park illustrates this beautifully, with the washes of color giving the story a haunting loveliness that goes beyond the text.

Can We Save the Tiger? reviewed from a library copy; Djore’s Stripes, publisher review copy.

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