Zeb Soanes and James Mayhew

Zeb is one of the most recognised voices in the UK as a regular Radio 4 newsreader and the reassuring  voice of the Shipping Forecast. Zeb was named Zebedee by his parents after a fisherman in the New Testament.  The Biblical Zebedee was the father of James and John who were two of Jesus’ disciples.   Zeb trained as an actor and narrates performances of Peter and the Wolf and Babar the Elephant.  He shares a school and home town – Lowestoft – with the award-winning artist James Mayhew who has collaborated with him on the enchanting books about Gaspard the Fox.  James started sketching aged ten with a scratchy old dip pen and still uses pen and ink. His  first book, Katie’s Picture Show was published in 1989, followed by many others including the much-loved Ella Bella Ballerina series. He also presents  concerts for children and creates performance art to illustrate classical music.

Visit Zeb's website and James's website

Gaspard is a real fox. He appeared with an injured leg one evening, Zeb fed him, and he started coming to visit regularly. Zeb learned more about him, started writing stories about his adventures, and James drew the illustrations.

Here is Zeb back from reading the news on BBC Radio 4, being greeted by Gaspard.

Why not visit Gaspard's own Den, where you will find a film with crafts and things to do.
There is a new one every couple of weeks!

In  this short video we get to meet Gaspard's good friend, Peter the superior cat

Zeb, James and Chris, who composes music to Gaspard, join us from a summery Suffolk garden where they have made a special Festival video about the second Gaspard book:  Gaspard: Best in Show. Listen to Zeb reading from this book in which Gaspard and his friend Peter find themselves at the local summer fête. Here Zeb reads, James paints a large hairy dog dressed as a ballerina and Chris plays the accordion and piano.  Don’t miss this!

James is the illustrator, so he is the one who turns a real fox into a picture in a book, following Zeb's story, and in this video he shows you how to do it.

James also writes books, such as Katie’s Picture Show, inspired by a real life trip to London with his sister Kate and their Grandma, and Ella Bella Ballerina. James loves to read stories to you, and you will find many of these on this website. We've put one of them on this page, and there are more under Story Time.

And now, something quite different: Make your own Gaspard! It's easy and you need very few things, mainly some paint, scissors and ... a loo roll.

Make a loo-roll Gaspard the Fox! 


Chris Warner is a composer with a passion for telling stories through music and sound. He has worked with Zeb and James to compose this lovely music for Gaspard!

As you listen to this delightful summery track, imagine you are following Gaspard The Fox as he pads about his favourite back-streets and alleyways.