One of the sessions at the FCBG Conference this weekend was about a lovely new picture book called 'Gaspard the Fox'. Beautifully illustrated by James Mayhew, it is written by radio and television presenter, Zeb Soanes, who was inspired by a little fox which appeared outside his London home one evening.
The book follows Gaspard as he makes friends with a very supercilious cat who introduces himself as Peter and Flinty, a little Jackapoo, who escapes from a hole in the back of her kennel when her owner thinks she is safely inside.
During the talk, James explained how, having seen the real Gaspard and how beautiful she is, he felt under pressure to capture that in his artwork. Coming up with the right colour- 'almost like a smudge in the twilight...almost mercurial in the dark...' was very important and he used 'a limited colour palette to make the book harmonious'. James was able to observe Gaspard very carefully, making many sketches, some of which he shared with us- his incredible skill speaking for itself.
Zeb told us all about his encounters with Gaspard and how he had started Tweeting about her and how this had led to a huge following for her activities. Sadly, it also led to unwanted, unpleasant attention from certain newspapers! Undeterred, Zeb continued to share Gaspard's adventures, eventually writing the book, using real locations, including the wonderful book barge, 'Words on the Water.'
'Lavish with words', 'Gaspard the Fox' is a lovely story with gorgeous illustrations which is a joy to share. Foxy Facts at the back of the book offer more information about these fabulous creatures and I'm glad to say there are two more books on the way as I, for one, am very keen to hear more about Gaspard, Peter and Flinty.
Gaspard the Fox by Zeb Soanes and James Mayhew
Graffeg ISBN: 978-1912213542