Award-Winning AWB (Award-Winning-Books) 2015 Books GB Challenges Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] Endangered Beautiful Creatures in Jenkins’ “Can We Save The Tiger?”


Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2015 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, as well as reading challenges that we have pledged to join this year. Our reading theme for March/April: Grey & Golden, Young & Fleeting – Ruminations on Mortality and Transient Lives.

Many thanks to Iphigene for this gorgeous poster.
Many thanks to Iphigene for this gorgeous poster.

For our reading theme, we are planning to share nonfiction stories related to endangered species or themes connected to mortality. I am glad to have found this beautiful nonfiction title in our public library.


This is my first Martin Jenkins book. Now I understand the glowing enthusiasm expressed by Nonfiction Wednesday enthusiasts about his nonfiction titles. He writes in a conversational tone that children would be able to connect with, yet he does not diminish the significance of the message he is trying to convey.


In this breathtakingly-illustrated picture book, Jenkins does not just discuss the beauty of tigers – he also writes about creatures that are already extinct such as the Steller’s sea cow or the marsupial wolf, or animals that are increasingly becoming endangered for a variety of reasons – climate change, human greed, accidents, inability to adapt to the changing environment.


As can be seen in the image above, Jenkins also discusses creatures such as vultures and why, even if people may not regard them as beautiful, they are gradually dying out. He also explores how they contribute to society, even if what they do may be considered distasteful by most. If you look at the image above, you would also notice the overall layout and design (take note of the white spaces allowing the eyes to rest – absolutely no clutter and no mess in the graphics) and how he plays around with font size to emphasize certain concepts or key ideas.


Jenkins also made mention of how there are certain species that “have nearly gone extinct and that we have saved at least for the time being” such as the American Bison gorgeously illustrated above.

There is also information that indicates where the creatures could be found, their scientific names, their size, lifespan, and the number of their species left. The amazing thing is that he does this in a language that is very accessible to children, and one that they would enjoy reading again and again, because he makes it sound so fascinating.


Teachers would also be happy to note that there is a list of useful online resources where students can get more information about nearly 17,000 animals and plants that scientists and conservationists believe to be dying out, as well as the many organizations that serve to protect these endangered species. This book is a definite must-have in all classroom libraries.

Can We Save The Tiger? By Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White. Published by Walker Books, 2011. Book borrowed from the public library. Book photos taken by me.


Cybils Award, Nonfiction Picture; ALA Notable Children’s Books, Children’s Crown Award Nominee, SLJ Best Books of the Year, Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards Honor Book (Nonfiction), SLA Information Book Award, Parents’ Choice Award, Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12

#AWBReads2015 Update: 32 of 35


#nfpb2015 Challenge Update: 20 of 25

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

7 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Endangered Beautiful Creatures in Jenkins’ “Can We Save The Tiger?”

  1. This is one of my favourite titles in the land of nonfiction! I will be using it with my students late this month as we are learning about endangered animals. I also loved Ape by the same author and illustrator.


  2. trkravtin

    The American edition of Can We Save the Tiger? is from Candlewick Press The Walker Books edition is the UK version.


  3. This was a beautiful book indeed. The animal kingdom is full of wonders!


  4. I think I must get this book, Myra. I had no idea that vultures were dying out, among the others, too. How sad for us humans that our lives are endangering so many beautiful creatures. Thanks much for sharing so much of the book!


  5. This book was SO beautiful! And sad. I loved sharing it with my students when it came out. Caused a lot of conversation.


  6. What gorgeous artwork! And I’ve always loved tigers 🙂 The buffalo definitely looks cool, too!


  7. Pingback: [Nonfiction Wednesday] Celebrating our Connectedness with All Creatures in Martin Jenkins’ and Vicky White’s “Ape” and Anthony Browne’s “One Gorilla: A Counting Book” | Gathering Books

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