A Tiger Too Many by Antony Wootten

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A Tiger Too Many by Antony Wootten

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: At the outbreak of WWII difficult decisions have to be made about wild animals in captivity and Jill finds herself fighting for the life of a tiger she's befriended. There's an engaging heroine, a realistic wild animal and a need to sit on the edge of your seat at times. Antony Wootten popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 184 Date: August 2011
Publisher: Eskdale
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0953712311

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Jill's brother, Pete, was a keeper at London Zoo and when her mother was at work she would go to the zoo with him. She became very attached to an elderly tiger by the name of Ronny but with the outbreak of war tough decisions had to be made. What would happen if poisonous snakes escaped during a bombing raid? What about the elderly and dangerous animals? Jill is heart-broken when Ronny is shot but there's consolation in the form of a tiger cub, the runt of a litter rejected by his mother, who would need all Jill's care if he was to survive.

It was the time of the phoney war. Everyone thought that it would be over by Christmas but then Pete was called up. Jill's father died when she was small and Pete had been the father-figure in her life, but she put everything into caring for the tiger she called Ronny after his elderly predecessor. He needed medicine and care but still only grew painfully slowly. Then everything went wrong. The war became real with regular bombing raids, Pete was missing in action in Norway (Mum was in little doubt about what that meant) and Jill was ordered to be evacuated to the country. What would happen to Ronny when the threat of being shot hung over the animals? And more importantly, what could Jill do about it?

I thought this book would make me cry, but it's not that sort of book at all. Jill is as feisty a heroine as you can imagine and she brooks no nonsense from zoo directors or anyone else who might stand in her (or Ronny's) way. You can't help but warm to her as she tries to make the best of the problems which life deals her – and some of them are very unfair. Ronny the tiger cub is a wonderfully-observed character too and we see him develop from the sickly cub with soft fur and paws which seem outrageously large for his body into the mature animal needing his own space and who would be capable of killing a man. As Jill's fight to ensure Ronny's survival reaches its crescendo I didn't cry – but I certainly had to remind myself to breathe on a couple of occasions. It's real edge-of-the-seat stuff and I didn't see how it could work out.

There's a neat blend of fact and fiction in the story. Tough decisions had to be made about animals at the zoo and there were a couple of escapees from the complex during a bombing raid. Children were evacuated to the country with, er, variable benefits and Antony Wootten neatly knits all this together into a good story.

For more stories of war we can recommend War: Stories of Conflict by Michael Morpurgo and Can I Come Home, Please? by Phil Robins.

You can read more about Antony Wootten here.

Bookinterviews.jpg Antony Wootten was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.

Buy A Tiger Too Many by Antony Wootten at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Tiger Too Many by Antony Wootten at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy A Tiger Too Many by Antony Wootten at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Tiger Too Many by Antony Wootten at Amazon.com.


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