The Tiger Rising Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'The Tiger Rising' by Kate DiCamillo is a fiction novel about an adolescent boy who finds a tiger in a cage in the woods near his home. This resource provides discussion questions for middle school classrooms about this novel.

The Tiger Rising

Kate DiCamillo's The Tiger Rising features a 12-year-old boy, Rob Horton, who is struggling through a particularly traumatic time in his life when he encounters a tiger in a cage in an unexpected place. Middle school and upper elementary students will recognize the symbolism and identify multiple uses of figurative language as they follow Rob's journey. The following questions support classroom discussions about this novel.

Characters and Setting

  • Describe the setting of the story. How does the setting create incongruity with the events in this story? Compare Lister to Jacksonville, the city Rob moved from. Why do you think Rob's father needed a change in setting? How does changing your setting change your experiences?
  • What character traits best describe Rob Horton? What are some events in Rob's life that contribute to Rob's personality and behavior? Think about the students at your school that seem withdrawn. What are some possible reasons that you may not have considered?
  • Who are the Threemonger brothers? Describe Rob's response to them. What does this reveal about Rob? How would you have handled this differently?

The Tiger

  • What does Rob find while walking through the woods? How does Rob respond to his shocking discovery? What do you think of his decision to keep his discovery a secret? What are the advantages and disadvantages of keeping a secret like this?
  • Compare Sissy to Rob. What are some things they have in common? How are they different? Why do you think they are drawn to each other in friendship? Why do you think Rob tells Sissy about the tiger? What are your similarities and differences to your closest friends? What criteria do you use when choosing friends?
  • Who is Beauchamp? How is Rob's relationship with Beauchamp reflective of how Rob responds to authority? What is your opinion of Beauchamp? How is Beauchamp different from other adults you know? What advice would you offer Beauchamp about his tiger?

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