April 13, 2020

Music for Tigers: Guest review

Today's review was written by teacher-librarian Elizabeth Cook.

Written by Michelle Kadarusman
Pajama Press
192 pp.
Ages 8-12
April 2020

As an avid traveller, I love stories that help me relive fabulous trips I have taken in the past.  While I never made it all the way to Tasmania when adventuring around Australia, where Michelle Kadarusman’s Music For Tigers takes place, I felt as though I had.  Her description of the Tasmanian rainforest is breathtaking.  Michelle Kadarusman weaves her words in such a way that makes the world down under come alive.  The best way I can describe it is that she not only created a beautiful story, it felt like she created a melody with her words.  I could feel the rhythm and cadence of the eucalyptus trees and all of the animals contained on the island of Tasmania.

Music is all that the main character, Louisa, can think about when she arrives in Tasmania after a long flight from Toronto.  Clutching her violin, she would much rather be rehearsing for her upcoming audition for the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra than bushwhacking her way to a remote cabin with her Uncle Ruff that she has only just met.  At her cabin, Louisa finds solace in making her violin fill the emptiness around her with melodies to help her feel as though she were at home in Toronto.  Louisa can’t help but feel she is being watched from outside her window...and this time it isn’t the Huntsman spider that previously inhabited her cabin. 

When Louisa learns to live in the present and embrace her time in Tasmania she learns the true beauty of nature: the sound of cicadas among the gum trees, locating the Southern Cross in the dark night sky, and watching small wallabies bouncing along the forest floor.  Unfortunately, this is all under attack as Louisa learns that the camp of her great-grandmother, a safe haven for endangered animals in the wild, is soon to be bulldozed to make roads to the nearby mines.  Has Louisa learned the true value of what is important in life too late to make a difference?

Michelle Kadarusman’s Music For Tigers is a beautiful novel that is a captivating read.  It weaves in themes of animal stewardship, environmental protection, family, and friendship into one heartwarming book.  This novel would be an excellent read for adults as well as students in Grades 4 and up.  If you love protecting animals in their natural environment, you will love this book...just be sure to watch out for those bunyips!

~ Elizabeth Cook is a teacher-librarian in the Halton District School Board. She is an avid reader and fan of Canadian literature. 

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