Ballet Cat by Fiona Ross

Ballet Cat

Written by Fiona Ross

3+ readers   
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A joyful book from a talented new author/illustrator that celebrates friendship and individuality. The perfect book for all little boys and girls that love to dance.


Ballet Cat by Fiona Ross

No alley cat can ever be a ballet cat! Or can they...? The Crazy Cat Crew love to dance - they groove and they bop, they move and they hop, all night long. Then, one night, Arthur slinks off and discovers something really special; a pair of ballet shoes. He immediately puts them on and goes back to show the gang his new style of dancing. But the other cats don't like ballet and laugh Arthur out of town...only to realize that all dancing is cool and that they really miss their friend.

About the Author

Fiona Ross

Fiona Ross studied illustration at Harrow College of Art before going on to the Royal College of Art to specialise in design for film and television. It is here that Fiona’s TV and Film career began. From designing for BAFTA nominated projects to storyboarding and making models for cinema blockbuster’s Fiona has done it all. She has now turned her talent to children’s book illustration. Originally from Barnsley in South Yorkshire, Fiona now lives in London.

A Q&A with the author...

1)Where did you get your inspiration from for Hyde and Squeak? The lovely team at Little Tiger Press (Barry, Jude and Dana) asked me to think up some ideas for a ‘gothic’ children’s picture book. I was incredibly excited as it’s an area I’ve always been interested in, plus it was a challenge in needing to find a story and characters that leaned more towards humour than fear due to the young age group. I started off with what the term ‘gothic’ meant to me, I was drawn towards classic horror stories due to their memorable stories, strong characters that dripped in ‘gothic’ atmosphere. Dracula, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Frankenstein. I also (very happily) watched an abundance of old black and white films from 1920’s to 1950’s. Immersing myself in everything horror related gave me lots of ideas, then myself and the Little Tiger team discussed my suggestions for stories and characters which had the most potential to develop into a ‘gothic’ picture book. We all agreed there were elements in the original Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde that could be adapted to create the story of Hyde and Squeak that could be developed further. As the development continued I started thinking about interesting people around me and their quirky personalities. Growing up I was attracted to anything remotely scary from Doctor Who, Scooby Doo, Carry on Screaming, all of these fond memories returned and were very inspirational, just like the Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett, this was my first vinyl record when I was four years old. When working hard on the book I played crazy tune every now, and then I absolutely love it’s bonkers tone and humour - it’s a must every Halloween in my house!

2)What was your favourite part of Hyde and Squeak to illustrate? When you work on a book this can change, at first it was the shadowy
transformation of Squeak to Hyde. I like the simplicity and the reader knows exactly what Granny is witnessing. This was inspired by low budget horror and sci-fi films and not seeing the monster for it to be scary, I think this idea works here. But looking back my favourite part to illustrate was the black and white spread where Hyde is out and about looking for food, I like the comedy on these pages, plus I’m drawn to this image as I love drawing architecture and there’s a butchers shop across the centre. Also I think this image shows Hyde’s charac- ter at his best... and he’s pretty desperate to get his hands on those sausages!

3)Have you always wanted to be an author/illustrator?
 3: When you grow up you want to be all sorts of things, I’ve gone from wanting to
being a gymnast, ice cream van driver and archeologist. Looking back I’ve always enjoyed drawing and remember being over the moon when I did a pencil sketch of a parrot (around the age of nine), and it was put on the school wall. I will admit to not being particularly very good but because I enjoyed it, I drew more and more until things improved. Drawing and painting has been the one constant thing I’ve always loved and enjoyed.
Honestly, I never thought I’d write, I only ever wanted to illustrate. I really enjoy coming up with story ideas and characters, so my agent and Walker Books encouraged me to give a go. I’ve illustrated short story in an anthology, and I’d still love to illustrate someone else’s
picture book story as the experience is very different but in a good way.

4)What is your favourite thing about being an author/illustrator? Ooh, this is tough, there’s lots of things. I’m very lucky to be able to do a job that I simply love. I like the thought of getting up and each day being different which it more or less is. I appreciate going to exhibitions or catching a film matinee as it can be research for your next project. You also get to meet some really interesting, talented artists and have some very bizarre conversations regarding work. I had a few peculiar chats about Hyde and Squeak involving disgusting jelly toppings, moustaches and parping - I just hope no one overheard! I do really enjoy working from home, so thank goodness I’m very focused and don’t get distracted easily. I appreciate the quiet surroundings and not being disturbed. It’s rather nice being able pop out for fresh air if you need it, and I can make as many cups of tea I can manage!

5)Where do you like to work? It all depends what I’m doing. If I’m at an early stage of an idea I like to find a comfy chair and draw. I pile up my research and reference around me and make an awful mess. I sometimes like to draw with a familiar movie on in the background.
When a project develops and gets more serious I move into my proper work space where I have all my materials easily at hand. This can include anything from paints to model making bits and pieces. I find it relaxing to listen to the radio or movie soundtracks at this stage. It’s all too easy to lose track of time and get lost in your work! I’ve recently moved and have a fairly large studio space. It is taking some time to adjust to this new environment - it gives me a good excuse to sneak off to find that comfy chair to curl up and draw in.

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Book Info


40 pages


Fiona Ross
More books by Fiona Ross


Walker Books Ltd

Publication date

6th June 2013




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