An illustrated autobiography of a naturalist, A Boy and a Jaguar tells the story of a boy who is set apart from others because of a debilitating stutter. The book opens with the boy leaning toward his favorite animal, about to speak, but he is interrupted by his father. “What are you doing?” his father asks. But the boy only freezes, knowing if he tries “to push words out, [his] head and body shake uncontrollably.”
The boy’s teachers put him in a class for disturbed children, but when he is home and with his pet animals, he can speak to them without stuttering. The boy makes the promise that if he ever finds his voice, he will be the voice for animals and protect them from harm’s way.
This is a unique story told from an unusual perspective. We follow the boy’s maturation into adulthood, his passion for jaguars, and the journey to finding his voice. Eventually the narrator is able to convince the office of the prime minister that jaguars need a wildlife preserve.
The end of the book describes a standoff between the narrator and a jaguar. I won’t tell you what happens except to say that it is lovely. This is a beautiful story, with gorgeous illustrations in charcoal and acrylic. ABZ