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Can We Save the Tiger? Hardcover – Feb 22 2011

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Product Description

About the Author

Martin Jenkins, a conservation biologist, has written several nonfiction books for children, including Ape, Grandma Elephant’s in Charge, The Emperor’s Egg, and Chameleons Are Cool. He lives in Cambridge, England.

Vicky White worked as a zookeeper for several years before earning an MA in natural history illustration from London’s Royal College of Art. She made her picture book debut with Ape. She lives in Middlesex, England.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
smart, beautiful book May 15 2011
By Deborah Steinig - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The beautiful illustrations drew me to this book, but it's the intelligent text that makes me want to recommend it to every teacher I know. Many children's books present environmental themes in black-and-white terms: selfish people destroy nature, and we could easily stop this if only people cared. But "Can We Save the Tiger?" has a particular audience in mind: a child who can think; a child who can engage complex moral questions; a child who will one day be an adult.

The book focuses on reasons species become endangered, from habitat loss to chemicals to the introduction of non-native species. Each concept is clearly explained through a detailed case study of one species -- tigers, white-rumped vultures, partula snails -- with other examples mentioned more briefly. The author acknowledges the difficult choices humans face, sympathizing with, rather than vilifying, a subsistence farmer tempted to kill a nearby tiger. Yet at the same time, responsibility for reversing the trend is placed squarely in human hands. The book ends on an upbeat note, with a section on animals that have been brought back from the brink of extinction. Even here, though, the book refuses rose-colored glasses: one featured bird, the kakapo of New Zealand, is still struggling despite intense conservation efforts.

The book has little to say about how the loss of a species affects the eco-system, appealing instead to children's intrinsic sense of wonder at the diversity of living creatures. And this is okay. The book does not attempt to teach everything there is to know on this subject. But with its wealth of information and ideas, its respect for its readers, and -- not least -- its engaging storytelling, "Can We Save the Tiger?" will both lay a solid foundation and whet children's appetites to learn more.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Building Young People's Awareness of the World In Which We Live May 25 2011
By Gail Cooke - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Every once in a while I'll go through the box of children's books my mother saved for me. These were books I enjoyed and mom thought my children would, too. Hmmmm. When I look at these books I'm reminded of how very much children's literature has changed - for the better. Many authors are not only entertaining but enlightening, tackling serious subjects to build young people's awareness of the world in which they live.

Case in point is the gorgeously illustrated CAN WE SAVE THE TIGER? by conservationist Martin Jenkins, a consultant for the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. He introduces us to some of the world's most endangered species as well as presenting important reasons for trying to save them.

As Jenkins notes the world is a big place "But it's not that big, when you consider how much there is to squeeze into it." Billions of people inhabit it as well as untold numbers of other kinds of living things. And, through the years we have changed our world "turned forests into farmlands, dammed rivers, built towns." While some of the plants and animals with whom we share the world have coped with these changes quite well, others have not and have become extinct.

Most know we'll never see a live dodo "or a Steller's sea cow, or a marsupial wolf, or a great auk," but what about the tigers? Today there are fewer than 2,500 breeding adults in the world. What about ground iguanas, sawfishes, albatrosses?

Jenkins is quick to note that sometimes we have done the right thing and saved animals just before they became extinct. Among these are the American bison, the white rhinoceros vicuna, and Antarctic fur seal. In this way he allows young readers to understand that something can be done.

Vicky White's incredibly beautiful illustrations done in pencil and white paint are worthy of framing. She worked as a zookeeper for several years and brings not only perfection but love to her drawings.

Do yourself and your young ones a favor - read CAN WE SAVE THE TIGER? again and again.

Highly recommended.

- Gail Cooke
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Endangered Species May 29 2011
By Catherine W. Hughes - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This picture book masterpiece seamlessly introduces endangered species from the tiger to the threatened polar bear, with artfully drawn illustrations. From the patula snail in the Pacific Ocean, to the whooping crane, Martin Jenkins reminds us of these species' struggles, pointing to ways that we may help. Just as with the American bison, he offers hope for the future of our species. Children ages 5-8 can rely on this book as a guide and resource to our world's endangered species.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Stirring... but leaves question unanswered May 2 2011
By E. Kennen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
You will be hard-pressed to find a more beautifully written, illustrated, and laid out children's book that CAN WE SAVE THE TIGER? Or a more important one.

This book isn't about tigers. Those "big... beautiful...fierce" animals are just author Martin Jenkins' hook. His bigger aim is to shine a light on the plight of endangered species. Through age-appropriate case studies (including, yes, the tiger, but also the less well-known and hardly charismatic, yet still fascinating, partula snails and white-rumped vultures), Jenkins explains some of the main reasons species become endangered. Then he highlights buffalo as a success story, and New Zealand's flightless kakapus as an example of the difficulties conservationists can face despite their best intentions.
In between those case studies are beautifully illustrated notes about many other endangered species - some famous, some obscure.

Martin Jenkins does an excellent job explaining a subject clearly and simply, without stripping it of its complexity. Through both color and black-and-white sketches, illustrator Vicky White does a soul-stirring job of depicting each creature. Kudos to both of them.

HOWEVER... the book never attempts to address the title question: can we save the tigers? While the beauty of prose and illustration stirs the reader to WANT to save the animals, the book falls short on potential solutions or actions that average folks can take. Yes, there is a list of the websites of conservation organizations at the end of the book, but I was expecting something more. Given the misleading mismatch between the title (and the back blurb) and the subject matter, I am giving this otherwise stellar book a four.
Great and important book. July 7 2013
By K. S. - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book that I highly recommend to anyone. It is especially good for children. It is written simply and tells the story of the human impact on wildlife. The illustrations are also beautifully done.