The Tigon and the Liger
Written by Keilly Swift and illustrated by Cosei Kawa
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Keilly Swift grew up in the Bahamas, where she was something of a curiosity at the local school with her pale skin, blonde hair and very large glasses! She remembers the upheaval of returning to the UK as the new girl with an unusual accent almost as clearly as the shock of the wet British weather and her very first glimpse of snow!
Keilly has worked in children’s publishing for more than fifteen years for organisations including the BBC, Eaglemoss and Egmont, launching, writing and editing many successful titles, including Dorling Kindersley Find Out, The Magical World of Roald Dahl, The Magic Key and Thomas the Tank Engine magazines. She is currently Managing Editor at First News, the UK’s only national newspaper for young people, which has won several awards and has more than two million readers each week.
Keilly has lived in Switzerland, the USA and Japan, where she spent three years teaching English in elementary and junior high schools. She likes to take every opportunity to have an adventure, whether that’s bungee jumping in New Zealand or scuba diving in South East Asia. Now living in London, Keilly aims to help children make sense of the world and their place in it, both through First News and in her own writing. Her work has a light-hearted and accessible style, often exploring themes of acceptance and the celebration of difference, which are central to her first book, The Tigon and the Liger.
You can find out more about Keilly here.
Cosei Kawa is an award-winning Japanese artist. He has been enjoying his career as a children’s book illustrator since completing his MA in Illustration at Falmouth University in the UK. He lives in Shizuoka, Japan at the foot of Mt. Fuji and loves doodling by the beach. He is an Associate Professor of Illustration at Sizuoka University of Art and Culture. His many prizes and awards include the CCBC Choices best-of-the-year list, the Sydney Taylor Book Award Silver Medal, the Macmillan Prize for Children’s Books (Highly Commended) and the Turry’s Picture Book Award in Japan. You can find out more about Cosei’s work here.
Tigons and ligers captured my imagination when writing a magazine feature on hybrid creatures. I thought they were wonderful symbols of how we all sometimes feel we don’t belong and the story of Tyler and Lyla soon took shape.
Tigons, a cross between a male tiger and a female lion, are generally small whereas ligers, a cross between a male lion and a female tiger, are the world’s biggest cats. While tigons are usually orange-coloured, ligers can be white, sandy or golden. They can both have stripes (from their tiger parent) and spots (from their lion parent, as baby lions are born with spots). It’s thought there are less than a hundred ligers and only a handful of tigons in the world.
The other unusual creatures in the book – zedonks, zorses, wallaroos, pumapards and leopons – are also real. Can you guess which animals their names are made from?
I love how Cosei Kawa has brought the creatures to life through his beautiful illustrations. He was inspired by the Gir Forest in India for the book’s setting, one of the few places in the world where it may have been possible for lions and tigers to meet in the wild (tigers are typically found in Asia and lions in Africa).
Hybrid creatures can be controversial as they are usually found in zoos or wildlife parks where different species are more likely to meet. The story’s purpose isn’t to enter into this debate, but to highlight that we are all unique individuals whose differences should be celebrated!
Author: Keilly Swift
Illustrator: Cosei Kawa
Format: Paperback and ebook (ePub for iBooks)
Release date: 8th September 2016
Page number: 32
Age range: 4-8
ISBN (paperback): 978-0-9932253-9-0
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-911373-01-8
Product dimensions: 24cm x 24cm
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