Gaspard Best In Show

In a welcome sequel to the delightful Gaspard the Fox, the eponymous urban fox and his friends are back in this enchanting picturebook by Zeb Soanes and James Mayhew.

Mayhew’s illustrations have a whimsical, old-fashioned feel, reminiscent of Kathleen Hale’s lithographs for the Orlando series of the 1960s, yet they are entirely fresh and engaging. Again a great match for this entertaining story from Zeb Soanes. The plot is simple enough: through a series of mishaps and escapades the Gaspard wins best in show in the local ‘Fancy Dress Dog Show’, despite being the ‘wrong’ species!

There is lots to enjoy in these pages, not least for the adult reader, who for instance may recognise the wit in BBC broadcaster Soanes’ passing mention of the ‘shipping forecast’ (he reads it on the BBC, and in the story the cat is listening to it). Indeed, fiction and reality meet in these pages as Gaspard is based on a real urban fox who came to fame via Soanes’ blog about him, before featuring in the books. The useful page of information about foxes with some simple activities for the child reader and with links to relevant websites will likely foster interest in Gaspard’s ‘real’ counterparts. Highly recommended.