Summary: Sparking the light of conservation in the heart and minds of children, new author Joanne McGonagle shares a magical journey of a little kitten trying to find a home among a bevy of big cats at the zoo. While comparing and contrasting the similarities and differences among big cats and the kitten, this debut provides key cat facts for each species including their status on the endangered species list. Ultimately triumphant, this young children's educational reader is a powerful metaphor to provide safe habitats for all of the earth's "kittens." -- book jacket
THE TINIEST TIGER by Joanne L. McGonagle is a wonderful books for kids as well as adults! In fact, I think I enjoyed it even more than my children did. I thought it was so cute how the little kitten wanders away from her friends into the zoo. While she is searching for cats that look like her, she visits a variety of big cats and learns the similarities and differences between them and herself. Not only did I enjoy the story of the young kitten, but I also liked learning about the many species of big cats.
The book also has beautiful illustrations of the different big cats including a tiger, lion, cheetah, clouded leopard, puma, bobcat, and ocelot. Each illustrated page also shows a zoo sign which gives key facts about each animal. Each sign describes the endangered status as well as their size, weight, life span, and litter size. My almost nine year old daughter especially enjoyed learning about the animal facts.
Reading this book right now was especially timely for my children. We are fresh off of our visit to the Detroit Zoo where we definitely enjoyed seeing the lions and tigers. I liked that this book reinforced some of what we learned about endangered animals at the zoo. I think it's extremely important for children to be aware of our world and its animals, and this book did an excellent job of teaching them about these issues.
I can easily see teachers reading this book to their students as a way to introduce the concept of endangered animals. I think it is perfect for young elementary age children (and maybe some kids who are younger if they have good attention spans.) The book is so good because it is entertaining as well as educational.
I think this book is actually geared towards children a little older than my 3 1/2 year old; but I tried to read it to him anyway. He sat for about half of it before losing interest. That's not because the story wasn't interesting, but rather because he's just used to shorter books. He did seem to enjoy the book; however, he registered one small complaint -- some of the page spreads didn't have any pictures on them. He really liked the pictures of the animals!
I highly recommend buying this book if you or your children are interested in endangered animals. A portion of this proceeds from this book will benefit the conservation projects for endangered wild cats in Africa, Asia, North American and South America, through the Conservation Fund of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. So not only will you and your children enjoy reading this book, but you will also be helping a good cause if you purchase it.
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