Publisher's Note:  

Two tiger cub brothers are town from the jungle and taken to Rome. The stronger cub is trained as a killer at the Coliseum. Emperor Caesar makes a gift of the smaller cub to his beautiful daughter, Aurelia. She adores her cub, Boots, and Julius, a young animal keeper, teaches her how to earn the tiger's trust. Boots is pampered while his brother, known as Brute, lives in a cold and dark cage, let out only to kill. Caesar trusts Julius to watch Aurelia and her prized pet. But when a prank backfires, Boots temporarily escapes and Julius must pay with his life. Thousands watch as Julius is sent unarmed into the arena to face the killer Brute.

Tiger, Tiger

by Lynne Reid Banks

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Overall Review:  

    Author Lynne Reid Banks, who wrote Indian in the Cupboard, here turns her attention to ancient Rome and the gruesome entertainments at the Colosseum.
    She focuses on three main characters: twelve-year-old Aurelia, daughter of Caesar and already "womanly" in appearance but gentle and innocent in her ways; her boastful, irritating younger cousin Marcus who already goes to the Colosseum with his father and enthusiastically recounts to Aurelia the deaths he sees there; and Julius, the slave who cares for Aurelia’s pet tiger, Boots—and who falls in love with Aurelia.
    When Aurelia’s father takes her to the Colosseum on her thirteenth birthday, she, Marcus and Julius see another tiger, Brute, twin to her tiger, attack and kill men in the arena. Aurelia, coached by her mother in what to do when the scene becomes too horrific to watch, closes her eyes, but Marcus vomits into the arena, shaming himself.
    This award-winning story presents graphic scenes of the fights in the Colosseum, with gladiators, slaves, and animals killing each other. Although Banks presents the entertainment as horrifying and addictive, she also graphically depicts it. Banks calls the Romans' love of the Colosseum an addiction and a sickness. I can imagine the book leading to a great discussion about addictions to violence in modern society.
    The book also presents Christians dying in the Colosseum. Aurelia becomes intrigued by the Christian beliefs and secretly practices Christianity throughout her life, teaching it to her children.
    The story moves at a gentle pace until chapter seven when Aurelia is taken to the Colosseum on her birthday. From there on the story builds as Marcus persuades Aurelia to play a trick on Julius, a trick that goes terribly wrong
Reading Level: 6.5, range 4.8-7.3.
Of interest to boys and girls
Awards: A Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of the Year, 2005

This review has been acquired and adapted from

Content Analysis:  

This review was acquired from on May 15, 2014 and was not completed using Compass Book Ratings’ standardized checklist.  Nevertheless, it contains useful content information which is included here.  The overall number ratings have been approximated based on this information.

Tiger claws horse, is speared through heart; Aurelia thinks of Christians who are "tied up in the arena and fed to the wild beasts"; maid flogged for simple complaint; mention of animals in arena who "fight the gladiators and each other"; Julius explains that strongest slaves sent to Rome end up in arena; Boots tries to scratch Aurelia, she’s horrified when told his claws will be pulled out with pliers and that his fangs have been taken out; slave shows her scratches on his arm from tiger; Boots gently bites Marcus, Marcus threatens slave with flogging, tries to wrest sword from slave, Aurelia grabs Marcus by hair, pulls hard, throws him to floor; Brute trained to spring at man when prodded with spear; mention that pack of hyenas in arena could "pull a man down and rend him into fragments . . . and then eat the fragments," elephants who could "crush the life out of a man," "dash him to the ground"; Julius surprised that he’s not disturbed by watching gladiators and slaves killing each other, but doesn’t like to see animals killed; camels will have lions set on them, "they leap on their backs or tear their throats out"; in former days, had sea battles in arena with crocodiles in water; once elephants in arena set on by lions, when they fell, cried out and lifted their trunks, crowd cried, "cursed Caesar, and shouted for the elephants to be spared"; mention of bloodletting; bear baited by dogs that he crushes to death; Brute wants to "fight, rend, kill," mentioned twice; Marcus spurs, whips gelding horse, is bucked off, gets back on and whips horse more, admits he wants to ride stallion; Marcus imagines rescuing Aurelia from Boots, killing Boots with sword; Roman people love arena, bloodshed, Marcus loves it; Marcus describes spectacle at arena, mentions seeing men who you know may be killed, may have made friends with each other and then have to kill each other; Boots bites Julius’s shoulder, drawing blood; two gladiators fight, one with sword, one with net and trident, one falls, Caesar gives thumbs down, and victor slits the other’s throat, quite graphic; Aurelia closes her eyes, but sounds and smells of circus so upsetting, opens eyes, sees hyenas with bloody mouths and two camels left alive in state of terror; gladiator fights four unarmed men, kills one, wounds another, gladiator allowed to live; two men fight with swords, one "laid low," not clear if he’s dead or not, victor lives; Brute kills three men right away, one’s "stomach ripped open and its contents spilled onto the sand," keeps screaming, tiger attacks two, they try to get away, tears out another’s throat, eats entrails of first victim; Brute kills in ring again, develops taste for human flesh, bites off man’s arm; Boots hit on tail, bumps head; Julius considers killing himself, he's shackled; slaves who carried Boots’ cage are killed, Marcus hears that Julius will be punished in special way; Boots catches and eats animal in the wild; Julius imprisoned, will be put to death in arena; nurse may be killed for helping Aurelia; Boots catches and eats dogs and cats in streets of Rome; Marcus afraid his father will beat him if he tells the truth; Caesar decides to have Boots and Julius killed in arena and make Aurelia watch; old nurse slaps Aurelia; Julius dragged into arena, given a sword; Caesar pushes Aurelia away so hard she almost falls; Brute jumps at Julius, who’s holding a sword that wounds Brute; Julius dominates Brute, Caesar forced to free him because of will of crowd, wants gladiators to kill tigers, but Aurelia and rest of crowd shout for mercy; Julius knows Caesar could still have him murdered; Marcus and Aurelia have two children with birth defects who die in infancy, it’s unclear if they died naturally or if there was "some assistance.

Boots remembers milk from mother’s nipple; Boots has been neutered, mentioned twice, mention that Boots doesn’t realize he’ll never sire cubs; nurse kisses animal trainer; Julius’s salute to Aurelia is "like a blown kiss." 

Mature Subject Matter:  

Death, Animal Cruelty, Slavery, Gladiator

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Marcus’s father has fine wine in huge vats; Boots drinks some wine; mention that old nurse likes wine "perhaps more than she should," drinks glass of wine. 

Reviewed By CleanTeenReads
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