It's hard to believe that Alex T Smith has been a published illustrator for only five years. In that short time he has illustrated picture books, illustrated his own picture books, created an illustrated fiction series in a format that has led the way for a new kind of illustrated fiction. There's a nostalgic sensibility in his work but there's certainly nothing old fashioned about his books.
For anyone who has not yet discovered the brilliant Claude series, I urge you to read them NOW. A firm favourite and bestseller at the Just Imagine Roadshow in schools, the Claude series fills that tricky gap between young picture books and first chapter books. With a balance of text and illustration, they are highly accessible and visually appealing to the young reader. The humour is subtle and finely tuned.
These books inspired my own son so much that he requested his own soft toy Claude for Christmas. His Grannie willingly obliged. Here is Tom with his treasured felt Claude.
Those schools that enjoyed one of our Roadshows last year may have been party to my excitable rendition of the knight in Hector and the Big Bad Knight, a favourite for young audiences to boo, and a perfect 'Read Aloud' text, penned in rhyme and illustrated with Alex's usual flair for characterisation. Check out the Guardian website for a Alex's tutorial on 'How to Draw a Knight' . We are always looking for books that work well with a class of children and this one is a must have for the book corner.
After a hugely successful year including being selected as the World Book Day illustrator 2014, Alex is not showing any signs of slowing down this year. He has teamed up with the fantastic Caryl Hart to bring us the Foxy Tales series, which centre on the hilarious antics of Foxy(the fox) Dubois as she repeatedly tries to outfit Alphonso the crocodile. Characters you may remember from pictures books Egg and Catch us if you can.
The first title in this exciting new series is The Cunning Plan, in which Foxy is determined to make enough money to keep Alphonso in food, thus ensuring she does not end up as his dinner herself. Her hair-brained schemes are completely sabotaged by the clumsy and not too bright crocodile. The second book: The Road to Fame and Fortune takes us to a film set with Alphonso reluctantly taking on the role of ‘stunt croc’ in a bid to make Foxy rich once again. Look out for the third title in the series in March: The Great Jail Break.
Appealing to both girls and boys and superb for emerging young readers; you can find this delicious blend of comedy and light adventure in our Alex T Smith pack
Giveaway (Open to UK teachers and student teachers)
For a chance to win the first two titles in the Foxy Tales series answer this question:
What is the name of the ‘midnight’ superhero in Alex’s first picture book?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and school name and address where the books will be sent.
The winner will be drawn at random on Friday 30th January 2015