5th Grade and Up
Neel, a young Bengali boy, lives with his parents and sister in an island village neighboring a dangerous tiger reserve. Upon hearing that a female tiger cub has escaped from the reserve and is loose on Neel’s island, fear sets in with villagers that the mother will soon swim to the island to retrieve the cub. Wealthy newcomer Mr. Gupta offers a reward to whomever finds the cub—but his motives are purely evil as he plans to sell the cub on the black market. Neel and his older sister, Rupa, decide to search for the cub themselves.
The hunt for the cub interrupts Neel’s preparations for an exam to win a prestigious scholarship at a boarding school far from home. Neel doesn’t mind—he dreads the exam and would rather stay on his beloved island in the Sundarbans of West Bengal with his family and friends.
The main reason I wanted to read this story is because it features a tiger cub. I love tigers. They are my favorite of all the big cat species. I’m super jealous that Neel got to hold a tiger cub, even if it’s just fiction. My biggest dream is to hug a tiger cub. I also want to hug a jaguar cub, a cheetah cub, a bear cub, a panda, a red panda, a baby elephant, a wombat etc. I cannot believe anyone would want to hurt such a beautiful creature. Just look at that face.
For me, it’s understandable that Neel doesn’t want to go to a boarding school because that would mean leaving his island and his family. Even though the living conditions on the islands aren’t ideal, the Sundarbans does seem like a nice place. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to stay with your family. But when he learns what he could do for his island and home with the right education he gets on board. It proves that to succeed you need the right motivation.
To learn more about the Sundarbans, read the Author’s Note at the end of this book.
This weeks’ Weird but True Facts about Tigers
There are more tigers in captivity in the United States alone than in the wild throughout the world.