The Tiger Has a Toothache


By Patricia Lauber, Illustrated by Mary Morgan

National Geographic Society, 1999

George is unhappy. He has lost his pep. He is cross. And he hasn’t eaten. Upset stomach? the zookeeper wonders. Or perhaps George has sore gums or a bad tooth. The keeper thinks George needs a doctor.

In simple language that never condescends, this book offers an inside look at how zookeepers (and zoo veterinarians) treat their furry, feathered, scaly or slimy wards. A frog is placed in a mixture of anesthesia and water so he’ll go to sleep and a vet can remove a stone from his stomach. A gorilla with a cold gets cough medicine. When his mother rejects him, a baby bat is brought to the hospital nursery and looked after, and so on. The book ends with tips on being a good visitor at a zoo. It’s common sense information — “A good visitor never teases the animals or throws coins into ponds or pools” — but bears repeating. (Based on what I’ve seen, to adults, as well as their children.)

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