The Tiniest Tiger by Joanne L. McGonagle
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. And they name her Gracey!
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.
my amazon review: conservation project!