Appealing tiger story draws on fact; Rajpur, Last of the Bengal Tigers, by Robert M. McClung, illustrated by Irene Brady. New York: William Morrow & Co. 95 pp. $7.50. (Ages 8-12.)
This interesting story begins on the day Rajpur and his sister Rani are born. And the reader sees the huggable tiger cubs play, grow, and learn from their mother, Kumari, to hunt and to survive encounters with snakes, alligators, rhinoceroses, porcupines, and hunters on elephants. The stark reality of losing one parent to hunters, another to poachers, and then Rani to a pack of wild dogs illustrates the difficulty of survival for tigers in the wild.
Ultimately forced out of his home area by a larger, dominating male, Rajpur finds a new territory, a devoted mate, and the protection of a wildlife preserve.
Although ''Rajpur'' is a fiction-alized story of a tiger's life in Nepal, author McClung carefully weaves in important facts. Current research and conservation programs for the tiger population (which has dropped from some 100, 000 in the early 1900s to less than 5,000 in 1970,) form a base.
Irene Brady's sepia-and orange-tone illustrations capture jungle scenes with sensitivity, showing, among other things, the tender relationships of Kumari to her cubs. References at the end of the book give facts on the state of tiger preservation and more general readings on wildlife in India.