Skip to content


SF Said, illus. Dave McKean
David Fickling Books

Age 9+

Tyger is an exciting, thought-provoking adventure story. It is set in an alternative, bleak and harsh present-day London, in which the Empire, slavery and capital punishment still exist, many people live in poverty and constant danger and many animals are now extinct. It is mid-winter and two children, Adam and Zadie, discover an incredible animal, a huge, mysterious and magical tiger in need of their help. She teaches them they possess the power to not only help her, but also to achieve their dreams and save their world.

This is a story full of danger and drama,with a hopeful conclusion which celebrates the power of imagination and creativity. The beautifully crafted text, wonderful illustrations and striking design work together perfectly, the finished book becoming a portal, transporting readers both young and not so young into the incredible world of Tyger.  A book to share as a family with lots to talk and think about together.


Read a transcript of our interview with SF Said

Talk about the book
• Enjoy looking back through the book together, if you have the hard back book open out the dust jacket to look at the tiger’s head and feel the hard cover underneath.
• Look at the end papers and the page numbers. Flick back through the book and talk about your favourite illustrations.
• Which scenes from the story stay in your mind? Describe them to each other.
• Talk about the characters of Adam and Zadie and how they change in the story.
• What would you say to them if you met them?
• How did the story make you feel? What would you tell someone else about it?

See our print-off activity book with some of these ideas and other activities

Things to make and do
Write a poem about the Tyger
Try one of these ways to make a poem about a tiger

1. With your child make a list of your own words to describe the tyger and what it does eg magical, powerful. Then make a list of phrases from the book describing the tyger eg ‘eyes shining like liquid golden fire’ and ‘ a streak of black and gold’ ‘leaping from the roof beams’. Put the two lists together to make a poem:

Eyes shining like liquid golden fire
Leaping from the roof beams

2. Write the letters of the word tyger down the side of the page and write a line/phrase starting with each of the letters in tyger describing his appearance, smell, movement and power.

NB  See the links to Blake’s poem which was the inspiration to the story in the find out more section below

Paint a picture of the Tyger
Create a colourful picture of the Tyger using paints, crayons or pens on a large piece of paper if possible. Your child might like to focus on just the Tyger’s head or her whole body. Look back through the book to see how the tyger is described, for example ‘glowing with golden light’ her stripes ‘Perfectly symmetrical like currents flowing down a stream.’

Role play a scene from the story
Choose a dramatic scene from the story to role play with your child, imagining the conversation and how the characters feel:

Examples to choose include Adam’s meeting with the sentry at the checkpoint early in the story, Zadie and Adam’s encounter the huntsman or Maldehyde’s conversation with Adam at his family  home.

Create a scene from the story
Suggest that your child chooses a favourite scene from the story to recreate in a shoe box with one side opened out using small figures, collaged paper and waste materials. Here are a few suggested scenes:

•The Tyger in the dump
• Maldehyde’s menagerie
• The Common lands
• Solomon True’s bookshop
• The Underground library

Alternatively, your child may prefer to draw  a set of pictures of  favourite scenes.

Make a poster
Your child could make a poster like the one Adam and Zadie do in the story to show what  Maldehyde is doing to the city or the animals, or alternatively a poster to show that the tyger is not a threat but is actually in danger.

Make a folded paper book of doors
Fold a piece of A4 or A3 in half, length ways. Then fold it again to make a concertina book with four sections. With the book opened out, and then re folded again in half lengthways your child could draw a set of doors in each of the four sections. You could try to draw the doors so each is bigger than the last as they are in the story.

Help them to cut the top, bottom and middle of each of the doors (leaving the left and right sides uncut!)

Then your child could decorate the four doors (the bronze door of perception, the silver of imagination etc) and draw the scene through the doors too for example the wildflowers through the first door ‘glowing like jewels.’

Download template here

Find out more
• Read more books by author SF Said and visit our activity pages.
Varjak Paw
The Outlaw Varjak Paw

• Read William Blake’s poem ‘Tyger’ and talk about it The Tyger by William Blake | Poetry Foundation

• Find out more about tigers. Tiger Territory | Zoological Society of London (ZSL)tiger – Kids | Britannica Kids | Homework Help

• Visit the library and look for re tellings of the stories of the Arabian Nights. You could look out for One Thousand and One Nights by Geraldine McCaughrean for example. Or read the story of Scherherazade in Once Upon A Tune by James Mayhew (Otter Barry books). This book includes a retelling of the story in words and pictures and also introduces the music of Rimsky Korsakov.
James Mayhew Presents Once Upon A Tune – 5 Scheherazade – Bing video