The Tiger Rising

THE TIGER RISING


Walking through the misty Florida woods one morning, twelve-year-old Rob Horton is stunned to encounter a tiger—a real-life, very large tiger—pacing back and forth in a cage. What’s more, on the same extraordinary day, he meets Sistine Bailey, a girl who shows her feelings as readily as Rob hides his. As they learn to trust each other, and ultimately, to be friends, Rob and Sistine prove that some things—like memories, and heartache, and tigers—can’t be locked up forever. Featuring a new cover illustration by Stephen Walton.

A National Book Award finalist by Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo.

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Walking through the misty Florida woods one morning, twelve-year-old Rob Horton is stunned to encounter a tiger—a real-life, very large tiger—pacing back and forth in a cage. What’s more, on the same extraordinary day, he meets Sistine Bailey, a girl who shows her feelings as readily as Rob hides his. As they learn to trust each other, and ultimately, to be friends, Rob and Sistine prove that some things—like memories, and heartache, and tigers—can’t be locked up forever. Featuring a new cover illustration by Stephen Walton.

A National Book Award finalist by Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo.
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  • Candlewick Press
  • Paperback
  • July 2002
  • 128 Pages
  • 9780763618988

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About Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamilloKate DiCamillo is one of America’s most beloved storytellers. She is the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and a two-time Newbery Medalist. She is the author of many books for young readers, including The Tale of Despereaux, which received a Newbery Medal; Because of Winn-Dixie, which received a Newbery Honor; The Tiger Rising, a National Book Award Finalist; The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, winner of a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award; The Magician’s Elephant; and the best-selling Mercy Watson series. Born in Philadelphia, she grew up in Florida and now lives in Minneapolis, where she faithfully writes two pages a day, five days a week.

Author Website

Praise

National Book Award Finalist

“The story deftly shows the anxiety and suspense of getting close to someone after experience has taught you that may not be safe to do. DiCamillo’s gorgeous language wastes not a single word: spare and taut her sentences spin out, with the Florida mist rising off them, and unspoken words finally said aloud.”Booklist

“DiCamillo, who grew up in Central Florida and wrote the multi-award winning Because of Winn-Dixie, could almost have titled her bittersweet second novel “Because of the Tiger”…because of the tiger, Rob and Sistine make the fateful decision that allows Rob and his father to grieve more openly for their loss.”Orlando Sentinel

“The author delves deeply into the psyches of her cast with carefully choreographed scenes, opting for the economy of poetry over elaborate prose…DiCamillo demonstrates her versatility by treating themes similar to those of her first novel with a completely different approach. Readers will eagerly anticipate her next work.”Publishers Weekly, starred review

Discussion Questions

1. The Kentucky Star Motel, where Rob and his father live, has a sign in the shape of Kentucky. How did the motel get its name? Given the location of the story, why is this name odd? What is the significance of the star?

2. Throughout most of the story, how does Rob cope with things he can’t change?

3. What makes the Threemonger brothers bully Rob? How does Rob deal with their threats and abuse?

4. Sistine, the new girl in school, was named after the Sistine Chapel. In what ways is she like or different from this famous landmark? What hope does she offer Rob, based on his knowledge of the Sistine Chapel itself?

5. How does whittling help Rob cope with life in Lister? Name some of the objects he whittles. What is their significance?

6. Why is Rob asked to leave school? Do you think the principal’s reasons are fair? What is Rob’s reaction?

7. Sistine and Rob handle problems and situations in opposite ways. Which way is better?

8. What is the rash on Rob’s legs? What do you think the cure for his rash might be? What makes his rash worse? Better?

9. Considering Rob’s artistic talent and Sistine’s name, what parallel has the author drawn between these two characters?

10. How does owning a tiger make Beauchamp feel? What is the significance of the tiger’s cage for Sistine? For Rob?

11. What are some of Rob’s feelings that begin to surface with Sistine’s help and friendship? How does Sistine help Rob deal with his grief?

12. When Willie May doesn’t agree with Rob and Sistine’s plans to let the tiger go, does she let them down? Why or why not? When Willie May says, “Sometimes right don’t count” (page 99), what does she mean?

13. What happens at the end of the story that allows Rob to “open the suitcase”?

14. What part does the weather play in the story?

15. Name some of the emotions that permeate this story and to whom they are attributed.