Nick Dowson, an English teacher and drama specialist at a secondary school in England, has a passionate interest in natural history and the outdoor world. Of TIGRESS, he says, "I have always been fascinated by tigers, and I continue to be concerned for their future. I even dream of them."
Jane Chapman has illustrated many books for children, including the nonfiction stories THE EMPEROR'S EGG and ONE TINY TURTLE, and the rollicking counting book ONE DUCK STUCK. She lives in England.
K-Gr 2-Handsome, realistic paintings record highlights in a tigress's cycle of raising two cubs to self-sufficiency. A simple, informative text laced with additional data in smaller print describes her maternal care, the cubs' growth, and the development of their hunting skills. A paragraph regarding the tiger's endangered status is appended. For curious children not satisfied with this colorful introduction to an elegant feline, Jenny Markert's Tigers (The Child's World, 1998) might round out the experience, and for those whose aesthetic tastes have been whetted by Chapman's graceful illustrations, Ted Lewin's superb Tiger Trek (S & S, 1990; o.p.) may be just the thing. Enlightening and attractive, the Tigress is a pleasure for the mind and eye.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Dowson's supple, informative debut book spotlights a tigress, first viewed stalking through tall grass in search of a new den for her two cubs: "Her fiery, stripy coat seems to vanish like magic." As the cubs grow, they "fight" each other (with sheathed claws) and learn to hunt from their parent. At around 18 months, the young leave to find their own territories. Dowson supplements a poetic narrative ("Bigger than your fist, her pink nose sniffs the air. Her ears turn to listen for the smallest noise. Bright as torches, her large yellow eyes gleam all around") with straightforward facts about tigers, presented in a smaller, italicized font ("Tigers don't have a great sense of smell, but their eyesight is six times better than ours, and they have amazing hearing"). Together, the two textual strains provide a wealth of information about tigers' physical characteristics, behavior and hunting habits. A final note cites disturbing facts, including that fewer than 6,000 tigers are alive today. Eschewing the anthropomorphic style of her Bear Snores On and other works, Chapman delivers lifelike, closely focused renderings of the three tigers, often in convincing motion. On many pages, the text appears against subtly patterned backdrops that complement the artwork; occasional vignettes of the cubs prowling across these backdrops add a note of drama. Ages 5-8. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.