Saturday, March 19, 2011

Raj the bookstore Tiger

by Kathleen T. Pelley
ill. by Paige Keiser

Felicity holds up her beautiful new kitty and christens him "Raj" because of his golden coat and his chocolate stripes.  Raj patrols Felicity's bookstore with the ferocity of a real tiger, happy with his life.  "Mornings began with a patrol of the storerooms, followed by sun basking in the front window."  and "after a face wash and a snooze, it was time to greet the customers with a leg rub or a hearty meow."   Oh the simple happiness.

And then Snowball comes to town...or at least to the bookstore and quickly dampens Raj's tiger tendencies.  Snowball now struts his stuff while Raj cowers under chairs.  The reason for Raj's sudden sadness...Snowball informs him that he's "not a real tiger.  In fact, you're just a plain old marmalade kitty-cat with muddy brown splotches that some people might call stripes."  (insert snarky cat tone)

Oh, the indignation and with those words Raj is not the reigning cat of  the bookstore.After days of kitty sadness,  Felicity reads from William Blake's  The Tiger , perking Raj up just a bit. Then Sanjiv Patel comes for the bookstore's storytime and shares a video of India.  A Bengal tiger roars on screen, scaring Snowball and  Raj, except he remembers Blake's poem and "roars" back.

Words can help or hurt and someone can easily take your gusto away just as it happens to Raj.  Reading this to students it could easily be applied to bullying and self esteem.  Would you rather cower under a chair or rise up and roar! 

Paige Keiser's illustrations are charming and softly drawn.  Kaiser has a wonderful blog...Fox in Socks.

Other thoughts:

Roxanne at Books That Heal Kids  and
Successful Teaching review it as well.

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