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Book Reviews

Jack HannaDirector Emeritus, Columbus Zoo and Host of the Emmy Award Winning show Into The Wild

The Tiniest Tiger is an endearing story about a confused little house cat who meets up with some really wild cats–lions, tigers, cheetahs and more–in an attempt to find others of her own kind! Through these encounters, readers learn about interesting characteristics that make each wild cat different!

Kirkus Discoveries

A charming introduction to the world of exotic cats and endangered species.

By Leah Chang 5 stars

What a lovely book and excellent gift for cat and animal-lovers of almost any age, although tinier people of kindergarten age and younger probably would appreciate the illustrations and an explanation more than listening to the narrative. 7″ x 10″ dimensions are a nice size to hold and largish black sans serif type is easy to read. And how wonderful that “A portion of the proceeds from the sale of The Tiniest Tiger will benefit conservation projects for endangered wild cats in Africa, Asia, North America, and South America, through the Conservation Fund of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.”

The adventures of a tiger-striped kitten who wanders out of the alley where she lives with other cats takes her to the zoo, where in a quest to find her own place (a home) she converses with a series of big cats: tiger, lion, cheetah, clouded leopard, puma [panther, cougar, mountain lion], jaguar, bobcat and ocelot. Each big cat’s habitat features a sign with details such as endangered status, body size and weight, litter size… and includes a map to show the cat’s usual geographical range in the wild. After full-circling from her initial zoo encounter with a tiger back to the same tiger, the little tiger kitten happily goes home with the zoo-keeper’s daughter and to her very own habitat, a place where she truly belongs with human family and a full-grown tiger tabby who looks a lot like her.

I especially liked the comparisons of the little kitten with each big cat–sometimes size, at other times markings, tail length, ear style–varied physical traits that are similar yet distinguishingly different.

Beautifully artistic water-color style illustrations fill every other page spread. No artist was listed in the credits, but Gracey, The Tiniest Tiger told me Rachael Mahaffey drew and painted them. I noted that several other reviewers didn’t care for alternate spreads with text only centered on white, and though younger readers or younger kids being read to might be disappointed in not getting a picture to look at, the story flowed so well and kept me so interested that didn’t bother me in the least. Also, as an artist-designer I have a clue about print and production costs and it was wise to keep the price of this well-bound paperback to a reasonable $15.00 US.

Gracey, The Tiniest Tiger herself has a fan club on Facebook and would love all animal lovers to be her friend!

REVIEWED BY: Wayne S. Walker

This delightful and nicely illustrated little book, which will please all animal, and especially cat, lovers, features a young kitten, with a black-stained pink nose, a short striped tail having a black tip, and irregular markings. She chases a butterfly out of the alley where she lives with other cats and gets lost at the zoo. While there, she asks various big cats if maybe she belongs with them, including the tiger, lion, cheetah, leopard, puma, jaguar, bobcat, and ocelot. Are any of them able to adopt her? Or will she ever find a home? The story has enough repetition to make it ideal for young readers. I agree with Jack Hanna’s assessment: “The Tiniest Tiger is an endearing story about a confused little house cat who meets up with some really wild cats.”

The book is not only fun to read but educational as well because it shows both the similarities and differences between the zoo cats and the kitten and it provides key facts for each of the different big cats, including their status on the endangered list. In addition to its increasing awareness of the need for conservation efforts, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of The Tiniest Tiger, the author’s first book, will benefit projects for the protection of endangered wild cats in Africa, Asia, North America, and South America, through the Conservation Fund of the Columbus (OH) Zoo and Aquarium. I highly recommend it.

A wonderful giftbook for young cat lovers everywhere -5 star review
By Midwest Book Review(Oregon, WI USA)

The Tiniest Tiger is a softcover picturebook about a kitten who becomes lost in a zoo, and befriends a number of her big cat distant relatives. Young readers get to learn about endangered cat species such as tigers, lions, ocelots, jaguars and more. At last the “tiniest tiger” kitten is adopted by the family of the zookeeper and befriends the domestic cat in their home. The gentle color illustrations and message of conservation make The Tiniest Tiger a wonderful giftbook for young cat lovers everywhere.

A Delight for Your Child Together with Conservation Concerns! 5 star review

I’m a collector of cat books as well as cat memorabilia of all kinds! So, needless to say, I was pleased to receive my copy of The Tiniest Tiger by Joanne L. McGonagle. I am delighted to add it to my library! This is a children’s book; however, I must say it is so much more!

The storyline is sweet and will be a delight to share with young children! I suggest that you read it or help your child read it through the first time. Why? Well, there is a major emphasis on large cats all being endangered. As each new cat is introduced, statistics are provided regarding the normal size and litter and a small map is provide to show where each cat normally lives. This information will be very beneficial in teaching children about animal conservation; however, younger children will need some assistance in understanding the “sign” that appears on specific pages.

The tiniest tiger is a striped shorthair domestic kitten that has been playfully led astray by a butterfly. She thankfully winds up near a zoo and notices that there are large cats there. Surely she can find a place to live with them and so she first finds a tiger and asks if she can live with her.

At this point, I must admit that my personal attention was immediately drawn to the paintings of the cats. In addition to the beautiful cover, there are 15 two-page spreads in this book, 9 of which show wonderful detailed color portraits by Rachel Mahaffey of the 8 endangered cats. I studied the details in each painting, and found them excitingly specific to show the differences between the big cats. I believe your children will find many happy hours going through the pages as the little cat was sent around the zoo, trying to find a home. As I continued the story, I knew that the comparison to each of the cats was instinctual as well as part of the story. My own cats will seek, first, to build friendships with those of the same color and length of hair when they are old enough to be on their own. And then they work to become part of the overall larger group. It will be fun to read along with your child, to study the details of each of the big cats and see how they differ from each other as well as the little kitten.

Yes, of course, the tiniest tiger finds a home right there at the zoo. Which big cat do you think adopted her? You are in for a surprise if you choose the Bobcat!

Please note that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of The Tiniest Tiger will benefit conservation projects for endangered wild cats.

I admit it–I thoroughly enjoyed The Tiniest Tiger! If you are a “cat” person, are concerned about conservation of our wild life, or have a child or grandchild with whom you want to share the joy of reading and learning…then, by all means, this book is for you! Enjoy!

Given the total package award-well written, skillfully illustrated, educational, and socially conscious! 5 star review
By M. Bruner “Deltareviewer” Real Page (Oklahoma)
Vine Voice Real Name

The adventurous kitten had one thing on her mind – playing with the colorful butterfly. She played and followed the butterfly from her familiar back alley all the way to the city zoo. Soon after losing eye contact with the butterfly she realized she was lost. The first cat she saw with the Tiger. Talking with the Tiger they quickly notice that she doesn’t belong with him. The tiny kitten made her way through the zoo visiting with every tiger, lion, cheetah, puma, jaguar, and bobcat. How will she find her way back to a cat that looks like her?

THE TINIEST TIGER is an informative story written for children 4-8 years old. The 52-page book provides details about various `cats’ that live in the zoo. The nature and characteristics of each animal is discussed in relation to the kitten. The watercolor illustrations are vibrant depictions of the wildlife and will give young kids hours of enjoyment.

This is a great family read that will increase everyone’s knowledge about the `cats’ that live at the zoo. School teachers, librarians, parents, zoo and wildlife preservations should all have copies available for sale. I also love the fact that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit conservation projects for endangered wild cats. THE TINIEST TIGER wins the total package award – well written, skillfully illustrated, educational, and socially conscious – add it to your children’s library today!

Delightful New Children’s Book- 5 star review
By D. Blankenship (The Ozarks)
Top 100 Reviewer, Vine Voice, Real Name

The Tiniest Tiger by Joanne L. McGonagle offers every thing I like in a children’s book. It is quite readable, it is a great read along book, it gives the child lots of facts in a way that is palatable and the art work is “doable” and a joy to the eye. I enjoyed every page of this one.

The story, which is quite well written, is of a small, stray kitten that becomes lost and cannot find her litter mates. This happens while she is chasing butterflies, an obsession with kittens, I have noted. Our little cat happens to find herself at the local zoo and sees a sign stating she is at the “Big Cat Section.” This is where the story actually begins. Our little lost kitten goes from big cat to big cat asking if she could join them as she has lost her way home and really has no where to stay. The author has used this as a vehicle to introduce us to endangered species of cats from around the world. Our little kitten visits the Tiger, Lion, Cheetah, Clouded Leopard, Puma, Jaguar, Bobcat and Ocelot. While all the big cats are friendly, they all reject her for one reason or another. Now for those of you who read my reviews, you know I am not into injecting “spoilers” into my little write-ups, so I won’t here, but trust me; it all ends quite well for the little lost kitten.

There was much to like in this work and, as far as I am concerned, nothing to dislike. The author uses a straight forward s syntax that is easy to read and goes perfectly with the art work. Joanne McGonagle has provided information about each species cat visited, and has accomplished this in a way that leaves room for discussion with the children, while still giving them quite a lot of information right from the text. I did appreciate the fact that the author has introduced words that the average second, third or fourth grader may not be familiar with, ergo, we do not get the same old thing that the children have encountered in many previous books. This gives the individual reading the book with the child a good opportunity to discuss “words,” which, for me, is one of the most important parts of the learning process. If the child is not challenged, the child loses, and trust me, becomes bored rather quickly. The story flows quite well, is logical and Ms. McGonagle, who must have a great sense of humor, has been able to slip some pretty cute stuff in here and there. I like that.

I loved the art work in this little book. Having read to literally hundreds of children, I have found that so often they are simply turned off by art that is too “photographic.” By that, I mean, the child should be able to look at a picture, and in the back of their minds say “hey, I might be able to do that some day.” I like the natural colors the author has used and the way the colors have been blended. When you are actually out in the bush, everything is blended, it flows, nothing is sharp. That is the way nature is. And the paintings in this work give us a feeling of actually being with the cats, in their natural surroundings, even if it is in a zoo. When I take kids on nature hikes, one of the things I stress is “LOOK.” Works such as this get their little eyes and minds use to such things.

While this is a nice little story that is bound to appeal to children, it also addresses a most serious subject. Each year our big cat population in this world goes down and down. If we do not do something, and do it soon, we are going to simply be without these magnificent creatures. This, for me, is a horrible thought. We simply cannot start our children out young enough learning the seriousness of the situation. Works such as we have here, go along way in starting the process of making our children and grandchildren aware.

This is certainly a book that needs to the in the local and school library and in addition to that, should be made available in the gift shop of your local zoo. I highly recommend this one!

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks

If you would like to read more Book Reviews for The Tiniest Tiger you will find them posted on Amazon.com
Thank you for your interest in The Tiniest Tiger.