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Chris Naylor-Ballesteros is originally from Bradford and studied illustration and graphic design at Bradford College of Art. In 2000 he moved to France where, amongst other things, he was an English teacher before working in newspaper layout and design. When his children were small he realised he loved the picture books he read to them, sometimes even more than his children did - the Picture Book Bug had truly bitten. Chris has since written and illustrated several books and is currently thinking about the next one, probably with a cuppa in hand at home near Limoges. He likes listening to and making music, wandering around the countryside, a bit of running and riding a bike. His favourite season is autumn and his favourite colour is green.
December 2019 Book of the Month | ‘‘Twas the night before Christmas …’ but we’re on a snowy hillside where a lonely tree shivers in the cold. As it longs to be in the brightly lit little town below, suddenly footsteps suddenly approach. Somebody very important collects the tree and puts it at the centre of some special celebrations, before leaving with the familiar words: ‘Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!’ Taking inspiration from Clement C Moore’s classic poem, Chris Naylor-Ballesteros’ new book is filled with the joy of Christmas, and captures all its sense of magical anticipation. In a handsome small format, there’s a full page illustration on each right hand page and they tell the story with as much vivacity as the lines of verse opposite. It all concludes with a sparkling double page spread, the tree glowing in the foreground as St Nick flies off into the Christmas night silhouetted against the moon. If this doesn’t set you up for Christmas and its jollities, nothing will!
Shortlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | May 2019 Book of the Month | Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2020 | Starring four little animals that children will be quick to identify with, The Suitcase is a touching story about friendship and an excellent way to start conversations about how we respond to people we don’t know and the importance of kindness. A stranger arrives pulling a suitcase and tells the other animals that inside is his home. Curious – and suspicious too – they force it open while he’s asleep and dreaming of his long journey. Inside the animals find a teacup – now broken – and a photo of a small house. The image of the broken teacup is upsetting and young readers will be happy to see the animals’ response and how they find ways to make the stranger their friend. The message here is powerful and profound and beautifully served by the simplicity of the telling.
One of our special picks for Valentine's Day Children will laugh themselves breathless at the massive display of misplaced adoration in this zany, original picture book; adults might regard it with a bit more circumspection. After all, which of us hasn’t fallen head over heels in love with someone who turns out not to be quite what we thought … The impetuous Stick Insect hero is completely besotted with the gorgeous female stick insect leaning languorously against a sapling and can’t wait to sweep her off for a shared life of fun. He imagines them dancing, skating, at the cinema, and, in one particularly glorious image, riding a motorbike … If only Butterfly wasn’t there to point out a rather important problem. Stick Insects have never looked so animated, each page a whirl of twiggy legs and emotions, and it’s a treat for readers of all ages. ~ Andrea Reece Our Special Valentine's Day Picks Words and Your Heart by Kate Jane Neal Love from the Moomins by Tove Jansson I Love You, Stick Insect by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros The Poesy Ring by Bob Graham
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2017 | Bored of his diet of ants, a scheming ant-eater thinks of the all the ways he can make eating his next meal a little bit more exciting. An ant simmered in soup? A sun-dried ant? A salami-sliced ant? All of these sound potentially delicious. But not so good for the ants…and this time, they are determined not to be eaten. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for April 2017 The Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury Grandapa Green by Lane Smith I'm Going to Eat This Ant by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros Lots: The Diversity of Life on Earth by Nicola Davies Mrs Mole, I'm Home! by Jarvis Silver by Walter de la Mare