The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo

Book Cover:  The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamilloThe Tiger Rising is the fourth book that I’ve read this year by Kate DiCamillo. The two others being Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (click on links to be taken to my book reviews). Thus far I’ve enjoyed all of her books.

It has been six months after the death of Rob’s mother and Rob and his father are hoping to make a fresh start by moving. A fresh start consists of living in a motel doing maintenance work and getting beat up by the school bullies. Rob’s father tells him “There ain’t no point in crying. Crying ain’t going to bring her back.” And so Rob keeps everything bottled up inside.

Rob had a way of not-thinking about things. He imagined himself as a suitcase that was too full, like the one that he had packed when they left Jacksonville after the funeral. He made all his feelings go inside the suitcase; he stuffed them in tight and then sat on the suitcase and locked it shut. That way the way he not-thought about things. Sometimes it was hard to keep the suitcase shut. But now he had something to put on top of it. The tiger.

The tiger.

Behind the Kentucky Star Motel Rob finds a tiger in a locked cage, which proves to be a diverson from his troubles. Rob isn’t quite sure what to do with the tiger but his new friend in town Sistine insists on letting him free.

Through their actions Rob delves deep into his emotions, lifts his burdens from his shoulders and truly makes a fresh start in life. The Tiger Rising was beautifully written. Sad but powerful. I’d recommend this one for children, or in fact anyone who needs a helping hand in dealing with loss in their life.

Visit Kate DiCamillo’s website here. It looks like I’ve now read all of her novels. As an author that I’ve just begun to read this year, I’m disappointed that I don’t have anything else to move on to.  Perhaps I should start in on the Mercy Watson series.

Have you read this one? What did you think?

25 comments


  1. I’ve read The Tale of Despereaux and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, but I haven’t read The Tiger Rising. I like Kate DiCamillo, but there’s something unsettling to me about her writing, sort of like when I read Lois Lowry.

    on July 14th, 2008 at 7:42 pm
  2. My kids love Because of Winn Dixie. I didn’t know that it was a book. I’m definitely going to have to check Kate DiCamillo out. Thanks for the great review!

    on July 14th, 2008 at 7:49 pm
  3. I’ve not read this. I read Edward Tulane, I think based on your review, and found it incredibly sad. Too sad, almost. I couldn’t quite say why.
    I’d be curious to read this one though… another one to the list.

    on July 14th, 2008 at 8:58 pm
  4. -On second thought, I might try to find out why, and write my own review of Edward Tulane. Loss is the word that comes to mind, loss of so much time.
    I think she is an excellent writer for evoking emotion.

    on July 14th, 2008 at 9:00 pm
  5. I’m right with you on this one! I loved it Natasha. I’m also extremely sad that I’ve read everything by DiCamillo :( I’ve even read her Christmas picture book! I wish she’d write another novel. I could read a book a day by her. She writes wonderful books!

    on July 14th, 2008 at 11:59 pm
  6. I’m just now reading Edward Tulane for the second time with my daughter. We read it about 2 years ago and she doesn’t remember much about it. I’ll have to read Winn-Dixie with her, too. She’s listened to Despereaux on audiobooks and liked it but not as well as Edward Tulane. This one sounds terribly sad but I think we’ll try it anyway!

    on July 15th, 2008 at 7:04 am
  7. My daughters and I are mid-way through Tale of Despereaux and they beg me every night to read ‘just one more chapter…puh-leeeeeeese’.

    They are dealing with the slight dark side of Despereaux pretty well. Question for those of you who have read this book; does it deal with death in an appropriate way? It’s a touchy subject for my oldest, but I’d like for her to see ways to get past death.

    Now that I have made my child sound like a mental-case :) It’s just that she is very sensitive and empathetic with people and characters. Charlotte’s Web made her cry off and on for 2 days :D Ahh how I love her sweet sensitive soul!

    Anyways…people who have read it, let me know what you think.

    on July 15th, 2008 at 8:45 am
  8. I love Despereaux with all of my heart. I didn’t particularly care for Edward Tulane, so I had kind of stopped reading DiCamillo. But, I will definately have to check this one out. Thanks for the heads up.

    on July 15th, 2008 at 12:52 pm
  9. I haven’t read anything by her but I keep seeing her books around (and I did see bits of Because of Winn-Dixie). Sounds like a very touching story. And…this is my 100th post. Crazy–how did I get so many more comments than others???

    on July 17th, 2008 at 5:30 am
  10. Charley – I know what you mean about unsettling. I think that she just tells it the way that it is without sugar coating it.

    Jennifer – I have yet to watch the Winn Dixie movie but I really enjoyed the book.

    The Elementary – I’d love to read a review of Edward Tulane by you. Do it!

    Chris – I know what you mean! Having just read her first book this year I’m suprised that I moved through them so quickly. I’d love some more!

    Jenn – Are you referring to Tale of Despereaux or Tiger Rising? You can read my review of Despereaux. As far as Tiger Rising, I think it does deal with it appropriately. When we meet Rob his mother has already died and his father never mentions her although Rob needs to talk about her. I think they come to understanding and his father realizes that he needs to keep the memory of his mom in their family.

    KT – Keep reading! They are so quick anyways that even if you don’t like it, it wasn’t much time wasted.

    Trish – Wohoo!! Go girl, go girl! You know I love ya!

    on July 17th, 2008 at 8:04 pm
  11. Natasha…we are reading Despereaux right now and they are VERY into it. They beg of one more chapter each night. How does Tiger Rising compare? It just seemed from your review to be a sadder story. Without giving out all of the spoilers, as a mother, do you feel the death was dealt with in an appropriate manner. It seems like it, from the way you describe the boys need to talk about his feelings and get it out.

    ~sigh~ though I still have to fast forward through the first scene of Finding Nemo for my youngest :)

    By the way (me off on my tangents again) I picked up Madapple today at the library based upon your recommendation. I’ll let you know what I think.

    on July 18th, 2008 at 12:08 am
  12. [...] (you know you want to watch it)Sassy Mama Bear on Love Walked In by Marisa de los SantosJenn M. on The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillosoftdrink on Love Walked In by Marisa de los SantosNatasha Maw on The Tiger Rising by Kate [...]

    on July 18th, 2008 at 2:30 pm
  13. [...] any other day. Stunning opening sentence from another recommendation by Nat, Kate DiCamillo’s The Tiger Rising. She’s probably best known for Because of Winn-Dixie, but I’m more a fan of The Tale of [...]

    on September 3rd, 2008 at 1:26 pm
  14. quotes from tiger risimg

    on September 8th, 2008 at 8:18 am
  15. what is some quotes from tiger rising

    on September 8th, 2008 at 1:02 pm
  16. Hooked on Dicamillo,

    Hi my girls love The Tale of Despereaux. We only have a few pages left. I am afraid our next read will not be as exciting. They beg me to continue reading, and it i such a joy to see them excited about a book. I am already mourning the fact that the story will end.
    So my question is what do we take up next? Tiger rising? Or perhaps Edward Tulane? I am not that interested in Winn- Dixie since the girls already saw the movie.
    If anyone has any suggestions please let me know.

    on October 1st, 2008 at 5:15 pm
  17. I think the tiger rising was a great book.It had good discriptions and details.It is now one of my favorite books.

    on December 2nd, 2008 at 10:04 am
  18. the tiger rising is one of the best books ever. the miserablness of rob and how he got over it.believe me its a graet book.

    on December 2nd, 2008 at 10:13 am
  19. I think the Tiger Rising was really emotional. I really liked it when Rob met Sistine. And when Buechamp handed Rob the keys.

    on December 2nd, 2008 at 10:23 am
  20. I LOVED THE Tiger Rising because it was emotional it alomst cryed. how rob and sistine had a tough love at first but the friendship kept getting better and better so the book just kept getting better and better .my favorite part is when the tiger died because it brought rob and his family closer together.I LOVE THIS BOOK SOOOOOOO MUCH it had deitals and really juicy parts.
    LOVE THE TIGER RISING

    on December 5th, 2008 at 8:58 am
  21. The tiger rising is justgreat it would make an astonishing movie.I hope there is a sequel.

    on December 29th, 2008 at 3:21 pm
  22. Just read The Tiger Rising at the suggestion of a teacher friend who wondered about using it for class. I enjoyed it very much. Sadly I’m not a disciplined reader but this book was so mercifully short and thoroughly gripping that I kept going. Almost a one sitting read! I think there are many powerful messages in it. The futile exercise that is locking away thoughts and emotions in a suitcase, weighed down by a tiger! We all try that. The sadness of a child’s grief being controlled by an adult world, even if well-intentioned and the redeeming power of true friendship. I love the piece of dialogue on p54 when Rob reveals his secret to Sistine. “Where?” Excellent. I’m thankful to my friend and feel certain I will draw thoughts from this book into the future.

    on February 22nd, 2009 at 4:40 am
  23. hey im doing a report on you and was wondering if i could have you tell me a little about you.

    on May 5th, 2009 at 1:33 pm
  24. hey Kate!Are you working on a new book?I read the Tale of Desperaux and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.They are amazing books and the Miraculous journey of edward tulane I LOVED IT!I don’t really like reading but that book i couldn’t put down ,even my friend loved it. U ROCK KATE! I can’t wait till your next book and i can’t wait 2 read it.

    on May 5th, 2009 at 1:46 pm
  25. the tiger rising book was awsome i think that one was the best!!!! i have to complete a packet about it and i mean i just forget and i just forgot today i was sopposed to bring it home with me!!!!!!!!!ugh i am very disopointed in my self ughhhhhhhh!!!!! srry if i got some of the spelling wrong but really idc (it means i dont care fyi) (and fyi mean for your information)

    on January 31st, 2011 at 3:41 pm

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