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Tiger Boy

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  146 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
“One of the new tiger cubs has escaped from the reserve!”When a tiger cub escapes from a nature reserve near Neel’s island village, the rangers and villagers hurry to find her before the cub’s anxious mother follows suit and endangers them all. Mr. Gupta, a rich newcomer to the island, is also searching—he wants to sell the cub’s body parts on the black market. Neel and hi ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published April 14th 2015 by Charlesbridge
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Francesca Forrest
Aug 07, 2015 Francesca Forrest rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful, tightly told, moving tale, set in the Sundarbans, a region of mangrove forests and ocean-mixing-with-land in Bangladesh and India that I’d love to visit one day. It’s home to the endangered Bengal tiger, and also to struggling farmers, equally endangered thanks to climate change and the storms and rising seawaters that it’s brought. In this setting, we meet Neel, a boy with a good head for schoolwork who’s weighted down by his family’s and headmaster’s hopes and expectations ...more
Craig Wiesner
Jan 31, 2015 Craig Wiesner rated it it was amazing
This is a riveting and fun story about an Indian boy named Neel trying to rescue a tiger cub before an unscrupulous businessman, who is destroying the boy's island, can capture the cub and sell it on the black market. In the midst of his hope to find and save the cub, Neel is also dealing with great expectations his family and village have for his future. Neel's headmaster thinks he's the smartest boy in his grade and has entered him in a contest to win a scholarship. Neel isn't all that ...more
Ms. Yingling
Dec 18, 2014 Ms. Yingling rated it really liked it
Neel lives in the Sunderbans of West Benal, and his village is next to a tiger preserve. His family is struggling after his mother's recent bout with dysentery, and his father's fishing business has been negatively impacted by bad weather. Mr. Gupta is a local entrepreneur who is trying to take over the entire village, and has the money to do so, so when one of the tiger cubs escapes from the preserve, he offers the local men lots of money to find the cub and turn it in to him. Neel knows that ...more
Edward Sullivan
A fast-paced, engrossing story with compelling conflicts and evocative descriptions.
Tiger Boy is a wonderful story of family and home. Neel loves his home in the Sunderbans. He never wants to leave. He is in contention for a scholarship though that would lead to possibilities of employment in the future that could help his family. He struggles because the last thing he wants to do is leave, but his family doesn't have enough money for his sister to get an education and his father works very hard. He could change his family's situation if he leaves.

I found it to be a quick read
Oct 26, 2016 Maija rated it really liked it
This book began slowly for me, but as Neel began to put his mind to his studies, it really picked up the pace for me.
Julie Witt
My Opinion: Neel is a young boy who lives on an island in the Sunderbans of West Bengal who is happy and content with his life with the exception of two things: 1) the Headmaster of his school has entered Neel into a competition to win a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school in the larger city of Kolkata, India; and 2) the Bengal tiger reserve on a neighboring island has announced that a baby tiger has escaped and has made its way over to Neel's island, where it has become lost.

Neel's is
Mary Ann
May 13, 2015 Mary Ann rated it really liked it
Tiger Boy, by Mitali Perkins, is perfect for a family read-aloud--the 4th graders at Malcolm X School in Berkeley are giving it huge thumbs up and I heartily agree. If you have an animal-lover, or you're looking for a book set in India or Bangladesh, or you're looking for a book with a courageous kid who stands up for what's right -- definitely seek out Tiger Boy.

When a tiger cub escapes from a reserve in the Sundarbans, a delta region straddling the India-Bengladesh border, many of the resident
I really enjoyed this short book. It is actually the first Mitali Perkins book I have read despite the fact that she visited our school a few years ago and she spoke at a conference I attended last year.

The writing was really good and the story was suspenseful and exciting. Neel begins the book not really wanting to stay in school, but comes to realize the importance of a good education if he wants to improve his community and preserve the Sunderbans. While this is clearly a message in the book,
Although he loves reading and the words found in books, Neel isn't particularly adept at math. He's been chosen to represent his school in a competition for a scholarship at a boarding school, but his dismal work in math will surely result in failure to win the scholarship. When his father joins in on the hunt to find a runaway tiger cub, Neel and his older sister Didi are heartbroken that their Baba has chosen to do so. After all, Gupta, the wealthy man who wants the tiger cub, has plans to ...more
Sep 10, 2015 Phoebe rated it liked it
A companion to Perkins' earlier Rickshaw Girl, this book introduces us to Neel, a boy whose brains give great hope not only to his parents but to the whole village. If he works hard he may win a scholarship and live a better life than his elders, particularly his father, who has worked hard at manual labor his whole life and who can barely read. But Neel doesn't want to leave home; he loves his family and emulates his father. The village is poor, and many of its members are in debt to Gupta, a ...more
Sep 17, 2015 Julie rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery-2015
Good cross cultural read for younger middle readers. Neel lives in the Sunderbans, and he just wants to have fun. However, his teachers, family, and Headmaster all look at him as a potential candidate for a scholarship to a boarding school where he can get a better education than he can at home. In the meantime, a tiger cub has escaped from a local reserve, and Neel's father's boss has offered a reward for its capture so that he can sell it. The money would be very helpful to his poor family, ...more
Jul 21, 2015 Jo rated it liked it
Neel and his family live in the Sunderbans of West Bengal, where tigers live on a local nature reserve. When a tiger cub escapes from the reserve, Neel and his sister resolve to find it before someone who wishes to harm the cub and sell it on the black market. Meanwhile, Neel is supposed to be studying for an exam that would give him a scholarship for an excellent school, but he hates math and is unsure that he wants to leave the island, even for education.

This book had a number of good qualitie
Neel is a very smart boy. Smart enough that he might even be able to win a scholarship to a school in Kolkata if only he can improve his math skills with a tutor.
In the lush jungles of the Sunderbans of West Bengal the only man-eating tigers are protected in reserves and a baby cub escapes.
Rich in sense of place and informative about the customs and practices of the people who live in this area.
Great for younger readers who like animals and want to learn a little about the lives of other chil
Feb 16, 2016 Jen rated it really liked it
Great upper elementary school story about a boy named Neel and his ferocious love of home. Neel is a very smart boy who can possibly earn a scholarship to secondary school, and by doing so, lift his family out of poverty. Themes of duality play out in Neel not wanting to live away from his family, and his desire to be successful in the conventional sense.

I could see classes or book clubs analyzing this book and discussing the themes like duality, home, family, social structures, gender roles, r
Jun 24, 2015 Yapha rated it really liked it
Neel has been selected as the one student from his island to take the test for a scholarship to a prestigious secondary school. He doesn't want it though -- he doesn't want to leave his home or his family. Instead of studying for it, he and his sister sneak out at night in search of a missing tiger cub. The Bengal tigar is endangered, and this is one of the few cubs in recent years. Neel wants to find her and return her to the reserve before she is captured by an unscrupulous businessman who ...more
Nov 20, 2015 Liz rated it really liked it
This was an engaging, fast moving story. The hunt to find and save an escaped baby tiger before he is captured and sold on the black market. Island families must live carefully with the tigers (had me thinking about THE LION WHO STOLE MY ARM). There is strong family love and the chance that an earned scholarship will save the family's lot in life. I personally enjoyed the math that Neel finally found helpful when he created the island map. Back matter with information the author used, remembered ...more
Julie Williams
Apr 24, 2015 Julie Williams rated it really liked it
Neel loves his home in West Bengal's Sunderbans. So much so that he doesn't really want to try hard for the scholarship because that would mean leaving his home to go to school. When a baby tiger escapes from a nearby reserve Neel sets out to find it before a local rich man finds the cub and sells it on the Black Market. Along the way Neel learns more about himself, his family, and his home.

So was a quiet story and while I did end up liking it, it wasn't my favorite. The illustratio
May 02, 2016 Helen rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-waw-options
This WAW possibility was ok, but had nothing special except the look into Indian culture. Neel is the smartest boy in school and has been picked to take an exam for a scholarship to a city school, but he doesn't want to leave home to go so isn't trying too hard. When a baby tiger cub escapes from the local nature reserve, Neel hunts for her and finds her before Mr. Gupta's crew who want to sell her for parts. Neel takes her to the rangers at the reserve and decides to try for the scholarship ...more
UWE Library
Feb 27, 2015 UWE Library rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by C.P.

Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins

Main Characters: Neel, Rupa, Buba, Ma, Mr. Gupta, and the Headmaster

Baba joined Mr. Gupta to hunt for the baby tiger. Read the book and find out if Neel and Rupa find her first.

The plot is believable and exciting. Neel and Rupa make a courageous plan to save the baby tiger. Will they succeed?

I liked the characters in the story because they seem real by the way they act and talk.

The words in the book did their job well by explaining and giving detail
The Styling Librarian
Jul 28, 2015 The Styling Librarian rated it it was amazing
Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins – Read aloud this story to my son. We both enjoyed it. The introduction of culture was fascinating. The reflection on the power of money to influence people’s decisions led to some great discussions. Additionally, I appreciated the celebration of education and how it can change a person’s world… just beautiful. At the core, this is a story about family and how to honor those in your family, even when you disagree with them. What a powerful, beautiful story…
Abby Johnson
A great adventure story for animal lovers and for anyone who wants a glimpse at life in an island village in India. It's detailed while still being accessible to kids who have no knowledge of life in India. Themes of environmental protection and doing the right thing are universal. And I think pretty much every kid would love the chance to rescue a tiger cub. ;) I'll be adding this to my rotation for 4th-6th grade booktalks.
Great Books
Jan 15, 2016 Great Books rated it really liked it
Shelves: ages-9-11
It is important to the family, and the village, that Neel wins the Sunderbans Scholarship; he would have a good chance if only he would put his mind to his studies. Concentrating is impossible once Neel learns that the reserve has lost a tiger cub because he knows what the rangers don’t – there are poachers on the island! Reviewer #26
Sheila Welch
Nov 09, 2015 Sheila Welch rated it it was amazing
I found this story interesting and informative but also quite engaging. It's perfect for children who are open to stories of others who live very different lives. If I were a teacher of 4th through 6th graders, I'd read it aloud to my students.
A.C.E. Bauer
A beautiful middle grade read. The tension builds wonderfully, the characters feel so real. And I loved the illustrations! (I don't know why reviewers don't also focus on those in middle grade books when they are so important to the readers.)
Jun 06, 2015 Lynn rated it liked it
I had difficulty at the beginning and had to slowly re-read the first chapter, but then the story took hold and I stayed up late one night to finish the book. The suspense had me, and brought a very satisfying ending.
Very accessible look at animal rescue efforts and life in another country. Excellent story line. A fairly short read, great for 4th-6th grade.
I liked it; a good mix of a different culture and new information and an interesting plot. I think a lot of kids would enjoy it. Plus, there are some nicely drawn pictures
Jul 26, 2015 Laurie rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
Engaging story about a little known beautiful area called the Sunderbans in India/Bangladesh. A boy and his father both experience growth as they realize what is truly important and meaningful.
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Mitali Perkins was born in Kolkata, India, and immigrated to the States when she was seven years old. She's written several books for young readers, including BAMBOO PEOPLE, RICKSHAW GIRL, MONSOON SUMMER, and SECRET KEEPER. She is also the editor of an anthology: OPEN MIC: RIFFS BETWEEN CULTURES IN TEN VOICES. Mitali maintains a website ( and blog ( where she chats ...more
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