Cover image for A boy and a jaguar
A boy and a jaguar
Rabinowitz, Alan, 1953-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, [2014].

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 x 29 cm
The renowned cat conservationist reflects on his early childhood struggles with a speech disorder, describing how he only spoke fluently when he was communicating with animals and how he resolved at a young age to find his voice to be their advocate.
Reading Level:
Elementary Grade.

AD 670 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader 3.8

Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.8 0.5 166145.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library QL83 .R33 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area-Biography
Central Library QL83 .R33 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area
Audubon Library QL83 .R33 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Clarence Library QL83 .R33 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Clearfield Library QL83 .R33 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Crane Branch Library QL83 .R33 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
East Aurora Library QL83 .R33 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Grand Island Library QL83 .R33 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Hamburg Library QL83 .R33 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Kenmore Library QL83 .R33 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Orchard Park Library QL83 .R33 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Anna M. Reinstein Library QL83 .R33 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library QL83 .R33 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



2015 Schneider Family Book Award Winner

Alan loves animals, but the great cat house at the Bronx Zoo makes him sad. Why are they all alone in empty cages? Are they being punished? More than anything, he wants to be their champion--their voice--but he stutters uncontrollably.

Except when he talks to animals...

Then he is fluent.

Follow the life of the man Time Magazine calls, "the Indiana Jones of wildlife conservation"as he searches for his voice and fulfills a promise to speak for animals, and people, who cannot speak for themselves. This real-life story with tender illustrations by Catia Chien explores truths not defined by the spoken word.

Author Notes

Dr. Alan Rabinowitz is a global leader in the field of big cat preservation and research. He's dedicated his life to two causes: protecting wild cats around the world, and advocating for fellow stutterers. Visit his organization's website at . The illustrator Catia Chien lives in Pasadena, California. Visit her website at .

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In this poignant autobiography, Rabinowitz recalls the alienation he felt as a child who thought he was broken because he could not get his words out fluently. But there are other, more powerful ways of communicating, which Alan knows from the ease with which he talks to animals. As he grows up, he learns to both conquer and embrace the fact that he will always be a stutterer, and he soon becomes an advocate for animals. When, in the forest, he looks into the eyes of a jaguar and sees strength and power and sureness of purpose, readers will feel privileged to be part of this magical experience. Chien's impressionistic illustrations lend a gentle playfulness to the overall solemnity, with muted colors, expressive faces, and arrangements that draw attention to scale and size all of which remind us that there are many ways to tell a story, whether you are one with words, like Rabinowitz, or one without any, like the jaguar. A mature look at how some observant children understand the world better than some adults.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In his first book for children, conservationist and adult author Rabinowitz frames his lifelong struggle with stuttering against his equally long-held love of animals, which led to a career spent studying and advocating for them. "I am a stutterer," he explains. "If I try to push words out, my head and body shake uncontrollably." The first-person present-tense narration creates an intimate connection to the author's pain as he is placed "in a class for disturbed children," subjected to unsuccessful treatments, and considered "broken" and disruptive by teachers. With animals, however, his words flow easily, and a young Alan promises a lonely jaguar at the Bronx Zoo: "If I can ever find my voice, I will be their voice and keep them from harm." Shadowy charcoal lines and the often-muted colors of Chien's paintings amplify Alan's solitude, but also reflect the profound joy, wonder, and healing he discovers studying animals in the wild. It's a candid and deeply resonant account of a hard-fought battle against societal stigma, and an embrace of one's true talent and calling. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Anna Olswanger, Liza Dawson Associates. Illustrator's agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-Rabinowitz is a wildlife conservationist and spokesperson for the Stuttering Foundation of America. When he was a boy, he discovered that, despite severe speech challenges, he had a gift for communicating with animals. The book charts his story through college and his travels to the jungles of Belize. Eventually, he overcomes his stutter enough to speak before the prime minister on behalf of the jaguars. Chien's acrylic and charcoal illustrations perfectly capture the tenacious, loving spirit of the author as a boy and a lonely, intrepid young man. Chien has a flair for painting animals as well as portraying Rabinowitz's condition with empathy. One page, drenched in a moody mauve, depicts his anguished face and hands gripping at his throat as he tries to "push words out." With the flip of a page, readers see the boy awash in yellow sunlight, surrounded by animals, his face completely relaxed as he speaks fluently. Rabinowitz's text is elegant, if at times slightly wordy for the target audience: "In this animal's eyes are strength and power and sureness of purpose." The emotional resonance of the text, urgency of the issues discussed, and breathtakingly beautiful illustrations make this book a winner. The story will help children empathize with their peers with speech issues and will be a lifeline to those with special needs or who feel like outsiders for one reason or another. Every library should own this book, a testament to the fierce beauty of jaguars and the human spirit.-Jess deCourcy Hinds, Bard High School Early College, Queens, NY (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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