Volunteers needed in October!   Click here to sign up.
 Site Areas: 
Printer-friendly version   

The Tiger Who Would Be King

Last updated Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Author: James Thurber
Illustrator: JooHee Yoon
Date of Publication: 2015
ISBN: 1592701825
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2018

Synopsis: A short and piercing fable about a power-hungry tiger who sets out to become the king of beasts and ends up decimating the jungle into a subjectless kingdom. Nearly a century later, illustrator and printmaker JooHee Yoon brings the Thurber classic to breathtaking new life in this stunning picture-book.

Note to readers:
•  Check out the centerfold. Ask what animals appear in the battle.
•  This story is quite philosophical and heavy. It's "a story about the hunger for omnipotence (power) and pointless strife", so you might want to focus on the jungle animals.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do a picture walk before reading.
•  When you hear "king of the beasts", what animal do you think of?
•  What do you think will happen in this story?
•  What is a fable?


•  "in my honor" - honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions: a man of honor. a source of credit or distinction: to be an honor to one's family. high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in honor.
•  imaginary - existing only in the imagination.
•  prowled - to rove or go about stealthily, as in search of prey
•  inquired - ask for information from someone.
•  pretender - a person who pretends, especially for a dishonest purpose.
•  overthrow - remove forcibly from power.
•  repulse - drive back (an attack or attacking enemy) by force.
•  aardvark - a nocturnal burrowing mammal with long ears, a tubular snout, and a long extensible tongue, feeding on ants and termites. Aardvarks are native to Africa and have no close relatives.
•  "for the sake of" - the purpose of obtaining or achieving (esp in the phrase for the sake of (something))
•  "the new order" - a new system, regime, or government.
•  fevered - feeling or displaying an excessive degree of nervous excitement, agitation, or energy.
•  gibbous - (of the moon) having the observable illuminated part greater than a semicircle and less than a circle.
•  "days were numbered" - will not exist for much longer; will end soon

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Are you more like a tiger or a lion? Why?
•  What is a moral?
•  What do you think the moral of this story means?
•  What is the difference between a tiger and a tigress? A lion and a lioness?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a jungle-themed mother's day card.
•  Make a lion or tiger mask using a paper plate. Or a puppet using a paper bag.
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!

Special activities:
•  Wordsearch
•  Practice roaring, especially if the kids are antsy and need to use up some energy.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!