Tiger Ann Parker lives with her grandmother and her parents in the small town of Saitter, Louisiana. Tiger is a straight A student which is surprising, because both her parents are slow. The summer before Tiger enters the seventh grade, she finds herself becoming more and more embarrassed, especially about her mother, who has the mind of a six year old. Tiger wishes her mother could be more like her aunt Dorie Kay, who lives in Baton Rouge and is smart and sophisticated. Although Tiger loves playing ball and hanging out with her friend, Jesse Wade Thompson, she also wants to be friends with the prim and proper girls in her class. She thinks she might have a chance when she hears that Abby Lynn Anders is having a pool party. But, when Tiger's mother causes a scene at the bookmobile, Abby doesn't invite her to the party.
Tiger's grandmother dies. Tiger's mother is devestated and spends all day in bed, refusing to even change her clothes. Aunt Dorie Kay comes down from Baton Rouge to help with the funeral arrangements. Tiger is upset that her parent's can't handle things. Dorie Kay takes Tiger with her to Baton Rouge so they can pick up her colored maid, Magnolia to come back with them for a few days and help out until Tiger's mom is back on her feet. In Baton Rouge, Dorie Kay offers Tiger the chance to stay with her, and let the neighbors take care of her parents. Tiger is tempted. It would be a whole new life. Dorie Kay says Tiger can reinvent herself, just like she did. She also tells Tiger that her mother wasn't always slow, but had an accident as a child. This is a complete surprise to Tiger.
Tiger goes back with Magnolia, intending to return to Baton Rouge later. Magnolia manages to bring Tiger's mother out of her depression. Tiger spends her time helping out at the Thompson plant nursery where her father works. One day, he has a feeling that a storm is coming. The other workers laugh at him, calling him names and refusing to listen. But, Mrs. Thompson trusts him. Tiger's father knows everything about the whether. With Tiger and Jesse Wade's help, they all bring in Mr. Thompson's prized flowers to the house to protect them from the storm. Just as he predicted, the storm does come. Tiger races home and finds out that her mother went out in the storm to find her. Tiger finds her mother and for the first time feels like her mother is like everyone else. She has the mother's instinct to protect her child. She realises that she belongs with her parents.
This report prepared by Angela Tircuit