"Kancil had an idea. “Tell us a story,” she whispered to Kitchen Boy."

On this page you will find ideas for using Tiger Stone as a classroom resource. For each chapter there is a synopsis, discussion starter and springboard for students to undertake their own research and creative projects. There are also ideas for using sight, sound and smell to help students find their way in to the world of Tiger Stone.

You can jump to a chapter by clicking on the links on the left, or you can download a PDF version.

Ideas for the remaining chapters (yes, there are more than eight chapters in Tiger Stone) will be uploaded soon. Email me at info@derynmansell.com if you would like to be notified when that happens. I would also love to hear from you if you’ve used Tiger Stone with your students and have your own ideas to share.

Prologue

Synopsis

Aryani is about to leave the village to study in Yogyakarta. Her grandmother gives her the Tiger Stone with the instruction “I have lived a long life and had many adventures. It’s your turn now. You mustn’t wear the necklace until I am gone. When you do, you will understand.”

Engaging the senses

Start a collaborative wall display and have students search for images on the internet to enhance their understanding of the text. In this chapter they could look up:
  • Teak colour
  • Kancil
  • Yogyakarta
  • Tiger’s eye gem
Buy a small bottle of kayu putih oil for students to sniff as they read.
Tip: Many Asian grocers stock kayu putih oil in the personal care section. Tiger Balm is an ok substitute.

Discussion starter

What do you think will happen when Aryani wears the necklace?
Aryani is leaving the village to go to school in the city. How would you feel about leaving your home town to go to school?

Springboard for students

Interview a grandparent or an older community member about the adventures they had when they were young.

Aryani’s grandmother calls her ‘Kancil’ after the mouse deer in the fables. Find a Kancil fable in the library or on the internet. What does it tell you about Kancil’s character? Try making up your own Kancil fable.

From the description in the book, draw what you think the Tiger Stone pendant would look like. If you had an amulet that had been passed down through the generations in your family, what would it look like? What would its origins be? What would its power be?

Tip: Irene Ritchie sells Kancil story books in English and Indonesian and puppets at http://www.kancilforest.info

Download as PDF

Chapter 1 - Under the banyan tree

Synopsis

Kancil and her mother are travelling to Prambanan village (in the Mataram lands of the Majapahit Kingdom) after a long journey from Muara Jati (In the Sunda Kingdom). Kancil’s mother is originally from Prambanan and has been forced to flee Sunda because Sunda and Majapahit are at war.

Kancil’s (Sundanese) father and brother are believed killed in the conflict.

In Prambanan, people from Sunda are mistrusted. This has nothing to do with the current conflict; it is due to something local that happened in the past. Before entering Prambanan, Kancil must convince her mother’s sister (Small Aunt) that she can pass herself off as having lived in Majapahit all her life. Kancil fails and it is decided that she must pretend to be mute to hide her Sunda origins.

Engaging the senses

Image searches for the collaborative wall display:
  • Banyan tree
  • Mount Merapi
  • Kain, kemben, sarung (see notes about these and other Indonesian terms in the glossary at the end of Tiger Stone)
  • Majapahit Kingdom
  • Sunda Kingdom (also called Pajajaran Kingdom)

Discussion starter

How are people who sound ‘foreign’ treated in your community?

Are there situations where you change the way you speak to fit in?

Look at the map in the front of Tiger Stone. are referenced in this chapter. What have you found out about the places on the map in this chapter?

Springboard for students

The story of Tiger Stone is set shortly after the Battle of Bubat is believed to have occurred in 1357. What can you find out about the Battle of Bubat?

What was happening in other parts of the world in the middle of the fourteenth century?

Tip: The historical note at the end of Tiger Stone provides some information about the Battle of Bubat.

Download as PDF

Chapter 2 - Crossing the river

Synopsis

Kancil and Mother continue on their journey to Prambanan, crossing a river and passing through terraced rice fields. They take shelter from the rain in a rice field pondok where Kancil has the sensation that someone (her father?) is whispering questions she should ask to discover the truth about the past. Mother reveals that Sunda bandits were blamed for the theft of temple treasures but becomes angry when Kancil asks about ‘the scoundrel’. Mother discovers the cowry shell necklace Kancil has secretly brought with her as a memento of her father. Mother threatens to smash the necklace, as it will betray Kancil’s coastal origins, but Kancil manages to convince her just to let it stay buried under the pondok.

Engaging the senses

Image searches for the collaborative wall display:
  • Kendi
  • Pondok
  • Terraced rice fields
  • Prambanan temples

Soundscape: Listen to a YouTube audio clip of a tropical storm or frog sounds while reading this chapter.

Connections: the relationships between characters and what people think of each other begin to emerge in this chapter. Start a character map with Kancil at its centre and add to it as you learn more about the characters through the story. You could do this on a pinboard with string and index cards or use mind-mapping software.

Discussion starter

“It’s comforting to think that all bad people come from over the sea, or from the other side of the mountains.” - Mother

Discuss this statement with your classmates. Why do you think Mother makes this statement?

If you had to leave your home in a hurry and could only carry one bag, what would you take with you? Why?

Springboard for students

The temple treasure mentioned in this chapter is the Wonoboyo Hoard, a real treasure discovered in 1990. The spire that Kancil and her mother see through the rain is also real – it is part of the Prambanan Temple Complex. Find out about the history of the Prambanan temples and the Wonoboyo Hoard and share what you learn with your classmates.

Tip: The historical note at the end of Tiger Stone provides some information about these. See also the page about the Wonoboyo Hoard at

Chapter 3

Synopsis

Kancil and Mother arrive in Prambanan. A messenger sent by the new Prince of Mataram has also just arrived. Kancil meets Ibu Tari, Bapak Pohon and a very annoying boy (Kitchen Boy). She also sees her uncle, who is the head of the village (Big Uncle), her aunt (Big Aunt) and cousin (Citra). Mother tells Ibu Tari the made-up version of Kancil’s origins. Kancil has her first experience of pretending to be mute.

Engaging the senses

Image searches for the collaborative wall display:
  • Pendopo
  • Lontar scroll

Discussion starter

If you couldn’t communicate through speech or writing, how would you communicate?

Kancil has a ‘big uncle’ and a ‘small aunt’. In Javanese culture, terms of address and titles reflect a person’s position in the family and in the community. Different cultures have different rules about polite ways to address someone and to refer to a person. Do you know some examples from other cultures? Share your cultural knowledge with your classmates.

Springboard for students

Put yourself in the shoes of a new student at your school, someone who has just arrived from another part of the country or from overseas. Imagine you arrive on your first day at lunch-time. What would you notice? How would you feel? Write a diary entry about your experience.

Download as PDF

Chapter 4

Synopsis

After some begging, Kancil and Mother are allowed in to sleep in Big Uncle’s compound. A servant leads them to their quarters: a rickety shack outside the main house.

Engaging the senses

Image searches for the collaborative wall display:

  • Bamboo as building material and for furniture
  • Palm fibre mats
  • Trees: papaya, mango, tamarind

Discussion starter

The exchange between Mother and Big Uncle reveals some information about the family’s past. What have you learnt? What questions do you still have?

Springboard for students

Draw a picture of Kancil’s new home based on the description in this chapter.

Describe your bedroom in a way that would make sense to someone like Kancil, who is not familiar with modern architecture or furniture.

Download as PDF

Chapter 5

Synopsis

At the bathing pool in the morning, Kancil and Mother are instructed by Bibi to report for work: Mother to the loom and Kancil to the kitchen. Bibi refers to Kancil as ‘bandit spawn’. In the kitchen, Kancil meets another kitchen servant, Ida. She also meets the boy who teased her yesterday and now introduces himself as Kitchen Boy, a foundling who had been raised by tigers. Kancil is put to work making coconut oil. When mealtime arrives, Kancil realises she is on the bottom of the pecking order in the kitchen.

Engaging the senses

Image searches for the collaborative wall display:

  • Galangal
  • Banana leaf
  • Javanese tiger

Purchase some coconut oil for students to smell while they read. If you live in a cool climate, the oil will solidify but it can be warmed in the palm to release the aroma.

Shrimp paste (terasi or belacan) is more readily available from Asian grocers than fish paste. Make sure you have an airtight container to put it in though; it is pungent.

Discussion starter

What do you think of Kitchen Boy? Do you think Kancil and Kitchen Boy will become friends? Why or why not?

Springboard for students

Coconuts are plentiful in the tropics and coconut oil is just one of many products made from this plant in Asia and the Pacific. See how many different uses you can find for the different parts of the plant in different stages of its growing cycle. (See also next chapter: palm sugar)

Download as PDF

Chapter 6

Synopsis

Kancil and Mother pay their respects to Big Aunt and Citra who are sipping jamu in a pavilion in the courtyard. Big Uncle and the village elders are in the pendopo discussing the prince’s impending arrival. Kancil learns that her aunt and uncle hope the prince will marry their daughter. The juru kunci will not be drawn into the speculation but he notes that any wealth to be gained won’t bring the temple treasures back.

Engaging the senses

Image searches for the collaborative wall display:

  • Hibiscus
  • Jamu
  • Palm sugar
  • Juru Kunci
  • Joglo

Taste test: commercially produced powdered jamu can be purchased from Asian grocers but check the claimed health benefits and ingredients carefully before letting students try them. Ginger, tamarind and turmeric are common jamu ingredients. Tamarind pulp and tamarind paste are available in Asian groceries where you might also find tamarind lollies to give students a sense of the sour taste. It is worth trying to find fresh turmeric root at an Asian market or health food shop and palm sugar is readily available.

Discussion starter

What do you find out about the relationships between the household members in this chapter?

“You must be able to speak polite Jawa if you are to marry a Prince.” (Big Uncle to Citra). In Javanese, when speaking to someone of high status, the vocabulary used is completely different to everyday Javanese. In English, there are not such clear-cut distinctions between ‘polite’ and ‘everyday’ language but we do adjust our language for context, audience and purpose. Discuss examples with your classmates.

If you know any other languages, discuss how politeness is expressed in ways that might not be easy to translate into English (e.g. tu and vu in French).

Springboard for students

Palm sugar is produced from the coconut palm or aren palm. Find out what it is called in Indonesian and how it is produced.

The village elders drink ‘tamarind water’ in this chapter. In modern day Indonesia, tamarind is mixed with palm sugar and water to make a refreshing drink called sari asem or asam jawa. Find a recipe on the internet or in an Indonesian recipe book and have a go at making your own. You might have to use tamarind pulp rather than fresh tamarind.

If you live near an Asian supermarket, look for asam jawa and other unfamiliar flavours amongst the fruit juices sold in tetra packs. Together with some classmates, buy a few different flavours to taste test.

Download as PDF

Chapter 7

Synopsis

The household is preparing for the prince’s visit. Mother is becoming sick with a bad cough. Inexplicably, Kitchen Boy starts regularly preparing jamu for her in secret. Kancil manages to coax some of her family history from her mother, discovering that she eloped with a merchant from Sunda (Kancil’s father), the year some very bad things happened in Prambanan. Kancil is troubled by a vision of her necklace and believes her father is trying to tell her there is a connection between the scoundrel, the temple treasure and her brother, Agus. Kancil is sent to do the laundry at the river and she overhears gossip about someone her mother was supposed to marry.

Engaging the senses

Image searches for the collaborative wall display:

  • Tokek gecko

Soundscape: listen to a tokek gecko on YouTube (also called tokay gecko)

Tip: the gecko that makes the ‘tokeh’ call (gekko gecko) looks quite different to the common house gecko (hemidactylus) you often see walking up walls and on the ceiling in the tropics.

Discussion starter

Different cultures treat illness in different ways and attitudes change over time. Discuss with your classmates how a common cold is treated in your family. Ask your grandparents what they did if they got a cold when they were young.

What are the similarities? What are the differences?

Is there a ‘right’ way to treat a cold?

Springboard for students

Find out more about jamu. Questions you might seek to answer:

  • When was jamu first used?
  • What is jamu used for?
  • Who makes jamu and how?
  • Who uses jamu?
  • How is modern jamu the same/different to jamu in the past?
  • Why would someone use jamu rather than conventional medicine or treatments?
  • Has jamu been scientifically tested?
  • Are there any jamu ingredients that have been adopted in conventional medicine?
  • Is jamu safe?

There are many different traditional medicines around the world. You might like to investigate the medicine of a different culture that interests you or investigate a global topic such as the loss of medicinal plants through land clearing or the challenge of protecting animals whose body parts are used in traditional medicines.

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Chapter 8

Synopsis

During the midday rest, Mother won’t talk about the gossip Kancil has overheard and chides her for listening to ‘common’ people. Kancil sneaks away to the bathing pool to let off steam by screaming underwater. Kitchen Boy sees her and traps her into admitting she can speak. She makes up a story about doing a deal with the mountain spirit but Kitchen Boy isn’t convinced. He challenges her to tell him where she’s really from and he’ll tell her about the spirits. She refuses but they achieve a sort of truce. Kitchen Boy agrees to see if he can arrange a meeting for Kancil with Small Aunt. Kancil hopes Small Aunt might provide a clue to her dream about Agus, the scoundrel and the temple treasures.

Discussion starter

How is Kancil being like ‘Kancil in the fables’ in this chapter?

What do you make of Kitchen Boy? Has your opinion of him changed? Has Kancil’s opinion of him changed?

Springboard for students

“Well … mountain spirits, water spirits. They’re all just made up stories to stop children from running away or jumping in the river.” – Kitchen Boy.

Can you find examples of these sorts of mythical creatures in your own culture or in other cultures? Ask your parents or grandparents about the stories their parents told them to make them behave.

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