Last year we released two books about tigers—A Good Day and Panthera Tigris. This week, we’re adding another tiger story to the lineup—The Last Tiger! Though these books all tell different stories, they share more than just a central character. They take place in jungles, zoos, and cities. They consider themes of home, humility, and the role of humans in nature. And they use gorgeous illustrations in surprising ways.
These similarities make these stories perfect for teaching compare and contrast, as well as many of the Common Core standards in the Integration of Knowledge and Ideas category. Here are several questions about characters, settings, themes, and illustrations to jumpstart your discussions.
- What are the tigers like in each book? Compare how their personalities. What does each one want? How are they similar, and how are they different?
- Describe the tigers’ relationships with other animals in The Last Tiger and A Good Day. How does this show their personalities?
- How is the tiger in The Last Tiger like the scholar in Panthera Tigris? Compare and contrast their journeys.
- Describe how humans act and speak in each of the three books. How are the stories similar? Different? Are humans a positive, negative, or neutral influence in the tigers’ lives?
- Compare the images of tigers in each book. What visual elements does every illustrator include? Which elements do some leave out? Which tiger seems the most ferocious to you? Which one seems the friendliest? Which one seems the most athletic? Explain your answers.
- Point out your favorite moments in each book’s illustrations. How are the books’ illustrations similar? Different?
- Zoom in one subject that all the illustrations include, like trees and leaves. How are the illustrators’ versions similar? Different? How do their styles match the stories?
- How would you describe the jungle in A Good Day? In The Last Tiger? In Panthera Tigris?
- How are zoos portrayed in A Good Day? What about in The Last Tiger? How are those stories’ portrayals similar? Different? What do you think the scholar in Panthera Tigris would think about zoos? What do you think his young guide would think about them?
- What do these books say about human civilization (cities, book learning, etc.)? Is it good, bad, or a bit of both? Name examples.
- What does the tiger in A Good Day think about home at the beginning of the book? What does the tiger in The Last Tiger think about home at the beginning of the book? Do their perspectives change by the end of their stories? How?
- Who struggles with pride in The Last Tiger? In Panthera Tigris? What actions show that? What troubles does pride create for those characters? How do they learn humility? How do you think they’ll be different after their stories end?
- Compare and contrast the tigers’ desires for freedom in The Last Tiger and A Good Day. How do they find the freedom they long for?
by Courtney Zonnefeld