• When You Trap a Tiger

  • (Winner of the 2021 Newbery Medal)
  • By: Tae Keller
  • Narrated by: Greta Jung
  • Length: 7 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (264 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Newbery Medal

New York Times best seller

Winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Children's Literature 

Would you make a deal with a magical tiger? This uplifting story brings Korean folklore to life as a girl goes on a quest to unlock the power of stories and save her grandmother.

Some stories refuse to stay bottled up....

When Lily and her family move in with her sick grandmother, a magical tiger straight out of her halmoni's Korean folktales arrives, prompting Lily to unravel a secret family history. Long, long ago, Halmoni stole something from the tigers. Now they want it back. And when one of the tigers approaches Lily with a deal - return what her grandmother stole in exchange for Halmoni's health - Lily is tempted to agree. But deals with tigers are never what they seem! With the help of her sister and her new friend Ricky, Lily must find her voice...and the courage to face a tiger.

Tae Keller, the award-winning author of The Science of Breakable Things, shares a sparkling tale about the power of stories and the magic of family. Think Walk Two Moons meets Where the Mountain Meets the Moon!

"If stories were written in the stars...this wondrous tale would be one of the brightest." (Booklist, starred review)

©2020 Tae Keller (P)2020 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

"Roars to life with just a touch of magic." (Kirkus starred review)

"A heartfelt reminder of the wonder and beauty in our everyday lives." (Booklist starred review)

"Deeply moving...vulnerable and mythic storytelling in the vein of Erin Entrada Kelly and Kacen Callender." (School Library Journal starred review)

What listeners say about When You Trap a Tiger

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Had to HEAR story

As I begin reading this book on my new Kindle I just did not feel satisfied that I was reading it with due respect. I didn’t feel I was pronouncing the words right or giving the correct emphasis to certain words. So I decided I needed to HEAR the book to fully enjoy it. I am so glad I did! HEARING it brought it more to life for me. If I was still teaching I would definitely have had my 5th grade scholars listen to the audible book.

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Outstanding!

My daughter read this book to her five children, so of course I wanted to listen to it on the audiobook version. This story took me to a magical place, and at the same time reminded me of my own Grandmother. The difficult relationship between the sisters, was relatable too. I enjoyed this story so very much & recommend it to everyone.

1 person found this helpful

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A wonderful story with Korean mythology

How many times did I come close to tears while listening to this book? Let me count... 1, 2, 3, ..... 37, 38, ... Okay, I can't actually put a specific number on it, but it was a lot. There was so much going on in this novel that started out as a simple story with a tiger spirit. The feelings that Lily was dealing with, both before and after she found out her grandmother was sick, and the tension that was always there between her and Sam were so realistic that I found myself tearing up or having a catch in my throat so many times.

The feelings that are evoked by Lily's simple desire to make her grandmother better, and how she deals with what happens as she tries to achieve her goal, were beautifully written. Then, to intersperse all of that with the stories that we got to hear, both from the grandmother and the tiger, were beautiful.

Because I have seen so many other reviews complain about this, I want to address the information that comes up about Sam at the end.

SPOILER: Yes, it is revealed that she is lesbian. No, it was not just "thrown in there" or "included to be politically correct." A person's sexuality doesn't have to be plot-relevant to be included. LGBTQ+ people exist, everywhere. Let them exist. And, for those who are grabbing their pearls over a MG book having a lesbian in it, children of all ages have siblings who identify as LGBTQ+; why should they not be represented in the literature, too? Sam is a teenager, so it is perfectly normal that she would be discovering who she is - and that includes her sexual identity!
END SPOILER

For this book, I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated by Greta Jung. I thought she did a wonderful job, and I really appreciated hearing someone pronounce the Korean words so that, when I pick up the book to read again, I will know how they are pronounced.

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Great read; much food for thought.

Highly educational. I would definitely read it with my sixth graders. The narration was better than expected. Thank you.

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Worth the read

The lesbian nod at the end is sweet, G rated and actually fits the story. Don’t let this stop you from enjoying this book.

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Impeccable plotting by the writer. .

I thoroughly enjoyed it! The writing was simply powerful. I especially enjoyed the weaving of the children and halmoni and reality. Wow. I. choose not to retell the story. Just read it or better yet listen to the Audible version. The narrator quit being a narrator reading a story but became the people!

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great performance!

her reading is great. i live how she act halmoni. and all the korean words.

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Beautiful Story

It was a beautiful story of self recognition and courage when you trap a tiger is amazing the love the pain and the truth craft a fantastic story with both fantasy and real life
- cirque age 9

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Disappointed

This one began with great potential but felt like a chore to keep listening to. I didn't feel much connection to the characters. The audiobook version of Sam made her so unpleasant. The magical Korean folkstory element could have been so cool but it soon started to feel mundane and unrealistic and I wondered if the main character was going to be revealed as having mental issues. Perhaps this genre is just not for me. Also, is the way to Newbery success to introduce gay relationships? Is that the new mark for a book to gain attention and feel timely and sophisticated? I'd prefer alternative sexual lifestyles be something that parents discuss with their children rather than having society constantly pushing it at them.

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Wow what a winner, Newbery that is!

I paced my reading not wanting to leave the characters and their story. Only listened to two maybe three chapters a night. I savored all of the images and smells. Anticipating what would happen next. I almost want to start the story again but this time listen in one big bite of time. Like a movie on the screen of my mind!

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  • Kat
  • 06-26-21

Soo good!

Spoilers below:

I liked that the it taught me about culture different from my own. The book started out a bit gloomy but got lighter, the ending was bitter sweet. It was nice that the girl wanted to save her harmony. It was cool that the tiger was her great grandmother.

Written by my 10 year old daughter.

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  • Rgh1066
  • 03-12-21

Superbly told

Greta Jung delivers a masterpiece performance in this telling of the 2021 Newbery Medal winning story. The characterisation shines through and the stories within the story are given the room to breathe that ensures their power endures. A brilliant performance.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-31-20

Beautiful, heart warming story

The story is powerful, insightful and so moving. I understood and was even more moved to hear Tae Keller's reasons for researching and writing this story. Hats off to Greta Jung. She narrated between different characters and genders so effortlessly. Such a joy to listen!!