Tiger by the Tail
Venita Coelho
age group: 
9+ yrs
Number of pages: 
tigers nature and wildlife conservation
fiction, fantasy


For the audience it is meant for it’s a great book. As far as genre goes, I love it. There isn’t enough written on the idea of a save the animals save the world for kids to assimilate and draw from.
Secret missions and detective stories hold the mind in captivations for the multiple emotions that it tends to stir up and so this book is sure to stir the imagination of the young minds. It has all the ingredients to make for a best-seller, a dangerous mission, Jungle Speak, a 'lingua franca' of the animal world and a multi species Animal Intelligence Agency, in which Rana, a 12 year old boy, alias agent 11.5, a tiger, alias agent 002, and an out-of-grace agent, a black faced langur join together to get across a mission to save mass-scale poaching of tigers.

After several exciting and sometimes hilarious adventures and sometimes, mis-adventures, the trio reach China, via Tibet. The beauty of the land is highlighted as much as the ugly happenings to our fellow beast. I loved the piece about Tibet. There is so little known about the culture and the compassion that this land nurtures that it will appeal to every young heart while they are yet in the developmental stage of seeking nurturance.

Man has not been able to contain the vile ways of man and our attempts at educating or guarding our fellow beings on earth are falling to naught as is evident with the endangered species list growing by the hour. There are instances where the freedom of the land is compromised and I dare say that the animals must be feeling that way too.

The structure of the book with narrative chapters interspersed with illustrations of relevant, detailed information about the countries that seem to suffer or support, albeit indirectly, is a commendable style specially for the age group the book is meant. That there is jungle speak is another part of the style that I loved. To think like the animals and to express it in thought word, and deed, is to touch the depths of feeling that is intense and deep all at once.

I did wonder if the book could have been a little shorter, though ?

Reviewed by Padma Srinath