LITERATURE GUIDE
Riding The Tiger
by Eve Bunting
illustrated by David Frampton 

Themes: S.T.A.R., Community, Choices Riding_The_Tiger.jpg

Grade: 4 – 8

Story Synopsis: “Why don’t you hop on my back and we’ll take a ride?” Climbing up onto the wide back of the tiger is a decision that Danny, the new ten year old in town, soon regrets. What starts out as an exciting ride that fills Danny with pride soon takes Danny and the reader through a series of scenes that prove the tiger’s motives are, in fact, dark and dangerous. Danny meets a variety of community members along the way; some in awe of the tiger’s power, some who warn Danny to make a better choice and some who simply turn away in fear. As the tiger shows Danny what “respect” means to him, Danny begins to question his decision to ride. But the tiger isn’t planning to let him go so easily. Danny’s struggle helps him learn that only he can choose whether to completely give his power away to the tiger or be brave enough to make a more peaceful choice before it is too late.

Why We Love This Book: Through David Frampton’s striking woodcut illustrations, we feel every move the characters make and witness the subtle but dynamic shifts in the tiger’s behavior. The shape of the story leaves room for plenty of discussion about what the tiger represents. Gangs? Drug and alcohol use? Getting into a dangerous situation? A truly engaging picture book for older elementary and middle school students, Riding The Tiger helps illustrate that making quick decisions can be dangerous and that taking the time to Stop and Think can make all the difference.


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