I love illustrated chapter books and so it’s no surprise, really, that I picked up Tigeropolis: Caught in the Trap by R. D. Dikstra, a very cute book about a family of tigers who have developed their brains to evolve and eventually run their own zoo, though the humans of course falsely believe that they are the ones running the show. The family of four address each interesting obstacle that comes their way, but this newest obstacle may be one of extreme danger and who knows how it will turn out. The third book in a series, Caught in the Trap really focuses on the idea of poaching and how this family of tigers–a mother, father, brother, sister, and an eccentric uncle who pops by later on–deals with the sudden threat to their livelihoods and safety that has reared its ugly head within their sanctuary.
I really found Tigeropolis adorable, but it was somewhat difficult to get into for me. I think this is largely due to the fact that it’s meant for a different age group, but it may also be because the story as a whole was rather long and, occasionally, felt dragged out. For young readers whose attention wanes after a while, I don’t imagine this is a book they’ll get through quickly unless they find that they are incredibly interested in the topic at hand. All in all, the tigers go on a grand adventure, though it’s not because they want an adventure but rather it is because they want to protect their home from some rather unsavory characters.
The underlying theme of the danger that the poachers present is a dark one, though it is hidden beneath the lightness of the characters and overall story. The dark tone kind of reminds me a little bit of the one for Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, though Tigeropolis manages to hide some of it beneath the rest of the story. I feel as though you almost don’t register how much danger the tigers are truly in until one of them is captured, and even then the situation doesn’t seem incredibly dire as the tiger pretends to be a tiger-skin rug in order to avoid detection.
All in all, it was a fun story with a really intriguing topic that I believe a lot of kids would benefit from. I personally don’t agree with hunting as a sport or a pastime, but I especially have a problem with people who attack protected animals for the thrill or for money. And ultimately, I feel this is a book with a good message that’s worth promoting, even if I did get bored a few times while reading it.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.