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Year of the Tiger Hardcover – March 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–7—During the second century, the Emperor sends the Tiger Battalion to northwestern China to repair a section of the Great Wall. Upon its arrival, the Commander proposes an archery contest. His son Ren thinks victory will prove his worth to his father. Hu, a local peasant boy, wants to win to save his family from starvation. As they train, the two boys form an unlikely friendship. When the Commander finds barbarian spies across the wall, he cancels the contest. The story turns into a fast-paced adventure as he sends Ren away for safety and Hu is wrongly arrested for stealing grain from the meager supply. It's up to Ren to unmask corrupt officials, clear his friend's name and save the village—and all of China—from invasion. Told in alternating chapters, the narrative follows Ren and Hu as their story lines converge, split, and rejoin. Although historically well grounded, the characters' outlook and actions are modern and Western. Still, the mystery, adventure, and excitement of the final battle will attract readers, even those who do not usually enjoy historical fiction.—Jennifer Rothschild, Prince George's County Memorial Library System, Oxon Hill, MD
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From Booklist

Lloyd's first novel takes place in ancient China, a setting perhaps more familiar in fantasy than historical fiction. In the late Han Dynasty, two boys form an uneasy friendship in a small village just inside the Great Wall. Zheng Ren, the sheltered son of a powerful commander, arrives with a group of soldiers tasked to repair a breach in the wall, and soon meets Li Hu, a fiesty boy from a poor peasant family. The threat of starvation and rumblings of a barbarian invasion keep people on edge throughout the winter, and Ren and Hu find themselves with critical roles to play in both circumstances. Some light but intriguing political machinations and the ever-present threat of barbarian conflict anchor the story, but more memorable are the raw familial chords struck between the two sets of fathers and sons. Both boys only want to prove their worth and do so in drastically different ways. Lloyd's patient blend of thoughtfulness and excitement makes for a rousing historical read of an underexplored era. Grades 5-8. --Ian Chipman

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 600L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House (March 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823422771
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823422777
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,198,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alison Lloyd is a children's author. Before writing her first novel, 'Year of the Tiger', she worked for Australia's diplomatic service. She loves history - both the big sweep of events and the details of how people lived. You can find out more about her, and the setting of her book at www.alisonlloyd.com.au.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on April 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Li Hu and Zheng Ren come from opposite ends of China's class hierarchy, with Hu the son of an extremely poor peasant family and Ren the son of a respected military commander and his third wife. The threat of a barbarian invasion during the Han Empire has brought these two boys together as Hu's father was drafted to perform hard labor reinforcing a crumbling part of the Great Wall, while Ren's father was sent from the capital city with his battalion to supervise the repairs.

In a gesture of good will, Commander Zheng proposed that his battalion host an archery competition for the townspeople during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Hu dreamed of winning the archery competition and the grand prize, one of the commander's own horses. Selling that horse would go a long way to help buy food and warm clothing for his family. Ren dreamed of winning as well, but he sought his father's hard-won respect more than any prize. Little did these boys realize that training for the competition would set them on a harrowing course of danger and deceit that would affect the well-being of the entire town.

This skillfully-crafted work of historical fiction provides an exciting tale of life in ancient China when rigid class structures afforded people little freedom to maneuver beyond a strictly-defined set of expectations. The poorest households remained highly vulnerable to hunger, cold, and disease, with little hope of assistance or advancement. Alison Lloyd uses these conditions to motivate a unique storyline that will both inform and entertain readers as they wonder about the fate of these two unlikely friends.
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Format: Hardcover
As a teacher wanting to bring other cultures and an awareness of world history to my students, I read this to see if it's something I would have my students read. I enjoyed the pace of the book and the 2 boys, Ren and Hu, who are the main characters are "typical boys" - the noble son not wanting to be tutored and sneaking out to be with another boy his own age. My fifth grade boys could really relate to Ren and Hu and the action would hold their attention. It's not truly authentic in that the jokes Hu tells and the phrases the boys use work only in American with English, but that's not the point. The young readers will get the point that these kids are just like them - same feelings, same humor, etc. And it does give the reader an idea of what it was like in ancient China.
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By eco-mom on February 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We gave this to our 12 yo daughter for Christmas. She'd gotten a recurve bow and arrows for her birthday, so we thought she might like the book. She loved it!
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