The Tiger Rising

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The Tiger Rising
The Tiger Rising.jpg
First edition
AuthorKate DiCamillo
CountryUnited States
SubjectTiger, animals, wood carving
PublishedCandlewick Press
Media typeBook, Kindle
AwardsNational Book Award Finalist

The Tiger Rising is a 2001 children's book written by Newbery Medal winning author Kate DiCamillo.[1] It is about a 12-year-old named Rob Horton who finds a caged tiger in the center of the woods near his home. The book was a National Book Award Finalist.[2]


Rob Horton is 12 years old and lives with his father in a Florida motel called the Kentucky Star. His father (named Robert), and Rob have recently moved to Lister, Florida, after the death of Rob's mother, Caroline. Rob is quiet and often is bullied at school. Things begin to change when Rob discovers a tiger in the forest (locked up in a cage) while wandering the woods. He then meets a girl named Sistine Bailey who has recently moved nearby. Rob shows Sistine the tiger. Rob, who usually keeps his feelings locked away begins to involuntarily open up emotionally to Sistine. Though Sistine insists on letting the tiger go, Rob is wary of what will happen to it if he does. Rob finally relents and releases the tiger, letting it run into the woods. However, just moments later, Rob's father shoots the tiger dead. At the tiger's funeral, Sistine recites a part of William Blake's The Tyger. Rob and his father confront their unresolved feelings about Rob's mother and Rob begins looking forward to going to school with Sistine.

Sistine Bailey - Sistine (or Sissy) and her mother move to Lister. Sistine is Rob's classmate. Sistine's parents are divorced after her father had an affair with his secretary. As compared to Rob, she is very open emotionally and gets into fights at school.

Willie May - Housekeeper of the Kentucky Star. Though uneducated, she gives sage advice to Rob and Sistine, leading Sistine to claim she is a prophetess. She and Rob both have a connection to losing a loved one.

Robert Horton - Rob's dad. He works at the Kentucky Star Motel and is underpaid by Beauchamp.

Caroline Horton - Rob's mom. She died of cancer before Rob and his dad moved to Lister, Florida.

Beauchamp - Owner of the Kentucky Star motel, the woods behind the motel, and the tiger.

The Tiger - The tiger is described as a beautiful and poor animal trapped cruelly in a cage where he cannot escape. He paces around in the cage and is fed by Beauchamp and then Rob. After Rob and Sistine let the tiger out of it’s cage, it was shot by Rob’s dad and died.

Norton and Billy Threemonger - Two "redneck" brothers who bully Rob in school and on the bus.

Mrs. Bailey - Sistine's mom. She babies Sistine and forces her to wear dresses.

Mr. Phelmer - Principal of Rob's school who views Rob as a nuisance, neglects him, and feels uncomfortable talking to him. He later tells Rob that he cannot come to school in case a disease in his legs is contagious.[3]

Preceded by
Because of Winn-Dixie
Books by Kate DiCamillo
Succeeded by
The Tale of Despereaux


  1. ^ "Newbery Medal Winners, 1922 - Present". Association for Library Service to Children. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  2. ^ "National Book Awards - 2001". 2001 National Book Awards Winners and Finalists, The National Book Foundation. National Book Foundation. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  3. ^ DiCamillo, Kate (2001). The Tiger Rising. Candlewick Press. ISBN 0-76360-911-0.