Frederick the Fox – debut children’s book by Chiswick sisters

Frederick The Fox, a children’s book written and illustrated by two sisters who live in Chiswick, has gone on sale in local shops.

The rhyming tale of Frederick’s adventures has been written by Kim Ansell and illustrated with beautiful water colours by Lisa Read.

Frederick The Fox is aimed at children up to six years old and offers them the chance to follow the adventures of the fox in his quest to find happiness. Frederick is a ‘grumpy old fellow, fed up with being at home and wondering if there is more to life’. He says goodbye to his friends Rabbit, Owl, and Mouse and goes on a journey to find happiness.

The book follows Frederick on his push bike as he visits many different places where his fur gets matted from a trip to the beach, he catches a cold in the Arctic, encounters a shark while deep sea diving, rides a slide at the park, spins around in space and is rained on at the fair.

Reminiscent of Janet and Allan Ahlberg’s Each, Peach, Pear, Plum, the story is told in rhyming verse:

‘He got to the beach and he laid out his towel,
But the sea made him itch and the sun made him scowl’

‘He got to the fair with a big helter skelter,
But it started to rain and he had to take shelter’.

Rabbit, Owl and Mouse take care of Fox’s home while he is away and the book highlights the relationship between the friends and the wider importance of these bonds to happiness.

Frederick soon realises where he wants to be and turns around and heads home. Home is where his heart is and his key to happiness is being with his friends.

Images above: Frederick riding his push bike; promotional artwork for the book

Out of lockdown the creative process was born

The moral of the story is fitting, as the emphasis on friendship and community has been so important during the last year, during the pandemic which gave the sisters the opportunity to write and publish the book.

Lisa, who has lived with her husband in Chiswick for 16 years, was furloughed at the beginning of 2020 and was eventually made redundant from her job as a Senior Textile Designer with a leading British retailer.

Kim has a degree in IT and had been working for a distribution company in Hertfordshire since graduating, but happened to be taking maternity leave at the same time as Lisa was off.

“She has always had a love of books and enjoys reading to her two boys” Lisa told The Chiswick Calendar.

“Her eldest particularly enjoys rhyming books and finds these the most fun to read together.

“Kim always thought that one day she would get me to illustrate a story for her, but I’ve never had the time due to a very busy work life and Kim never actually had a story!!” she told us.

Neither sister had any experience of writing or illustrating a book, or of publishing before last year, but used their lockdown time not only to write and illustrate the story, but to learn about self-publishing and printing.

“Working together with my sister has been amazing. We have always been close, but this has brought us even closer together” said Lisa.

The book has been printed and bound in the United Kingdom using paper from responsibly managed forests and vegetable-based inks. It is available to buy from their website

Images above: Lisa in front of the Outsider Tart display; the side of Outsider Tart’s display

Support from local shops

As part of the launch, local cafe Outsider Tart has been redecorated with a colourful display of quotes and illustrations from the book. Copies are available to buy at the café and also at Bookcase London on Chiswick High Rd and Snap Dragon toy shop on Turnham Green Terrace.

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