Patricia Quinlan. Illustrated by Janet Wilson.
Toronto: Lester Publishing, 1994. 32pp., cloth, $16.95.
Reviewed by Anna Santarossa.
Volume 22 Number 5.
Tiger Flowers is a beautiful book that tells the story of a boy called Joel and his uncle Michael. Joel's uncle dies of AIDS and Joel has to deal with his grief.
Joel remembers all the things that he and his uncle did together. He remembers when his uncle was sick and the things that his uncle could no longer do.
Joel talks to his mother about how he feels: "like I'm in a cold, lonely place inside me." His mother assures him that she also feels that way and that "it hurts a lot right now. After a while it will hurt less." This makes Joel feel a lot better and he goes to sit in the tree-house that he and his uncle had made. After a while he climbs down and picks a tiger lily (Michael's favourite flower) to give to his sister Tara, who is also grieving for her uncle.
I like this book because it deals with two sensitive topics in an appropriate manner. Death of a loved one is something that most of us will face or have faced. It is refreshing to have a book that validates the feelings that go along with the grieving process. I also like the way the issue of AIDS is treated. Joel's uncle had AIDS. He died from it and his family grieves over his death. The family finds that by talking about it and keeping their uncle alive in their hearts and minds they can get through it.
The illustrations lend a gentle and reassuring tone to the story and complement it beautifully.
This is a book that must be on hand in any library. There will be students who will need the gentle guidance that this book offers.
Patricia Quinlan has written several children's books, including Anna's Red Sled. Janet Wilson has illustrated many books, including The Baritone Cat 2 and Gopher Takes Heart.
Junior Kindergarten to Grade 4 / Ages 4 to 9.
Anna Santarossa is a teacher-librarian in Bolton, Ontario.
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Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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