Publisher: Dial Books, 1995
Book Type: Fiction
Themes: Bravery, Perseverance, Jungle Animals, India
The Name Day Celebration was only one week away.
“My name shall be Bahadur Shikari – Mighty Hunger,” declared Number One, scouting the veranda for mice.
“I’ll choose Rang Birange Kapare – Calico Colors,” added Number Two as she sat grooming her long fur.
“And you, Number Four,” asked Two, turning to the small gray kitten who had finally pulled his head from beneath the pillow “What will your name be? Smallest of All?”
Synopsis (from Amazon Website):
As the Name Day celebration approaches, a young kitten tries to deserve a noble name, by following the path of the beautiful Bengal tiger.
Discussion guide on Naming ceremony, Indian culture, and even a tiger quiz from the author.
Tiger Crafts – simple paper crafts, origami, balloon animal
Basic info and photographs of Bengal tigers at National Geographic for Kids.
Why I Like This Book:
A tale of a small cat who proves that he can be something more than what he appears. The authentic text and vibrant illustrations transport the reader in time to the jungles of colonial India.
Number Four is a meek, small grey cat who yearns to be mighty and courageous, and have such a name. With Naming Day only a week away, Four sets out on a daring journey to learn how from the “Magnificent One”, a Bengal tiger. Four is not dissuaded in his quest by the jungle creatures who mock him. He doesn’t cower against the snarling tiger. Four remains persistent and follows the tiger for days and nights, learning how to survive. He saves the tiger’s life during a hunt thereby earning a powerful and wise name, Bangali Sher Ka Dil – Heart of the Tiger.
The illustrations done in watercolor and pencil are rich and bold, bringing to life the hot, humid jungle teaming with wildlife. Henterley has done a splendid job of conveying a range of emotions from the pensive Four looking into the rain puddle, to Four being startled via a close-up shot of the snarling tiger, to the tiger hunt scene showing just the tiger and Number 4 with the background a blur.
I enjoyed this book for its text and rich imagery with a great message that “you can be more than what you appear”. I loved seeing the inner strength of the cat revealed via each of the obstacles culminating with Four using his wisdom during the tiger hunt. The author uses accurate words to describe the colonial time period and jungle setting: master, veranda, langur (monkey), and beaters (men who play the drums during a tiger hunt). The Hindi names chosen have an accurate meaning too. I love this last scene with Four in front on Naming Day with all the jungle animals in the background. Read this book and be transported to old-world India.
Below are some photographs of tiger hunts. These are from the Bangalore Palace in southern India.
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