Neal Layton's News

Inside the Invincible!

September 28th, 2016

Bartholomew and the Bug

September 25th, 2016

Lovely insta-review of Bartholomew and the Bug by @thestoriesweread … #Repost @thestoriesweread with @repostapp ・・・ We have a bit of a fascination with bugs going on at the moment. Our observant two year old squeals as he spots flies or ants outside and crouches down low to watch what they do. I love seeing his curiosity and finding books to encourage it. This oldie is one that we have been reading again and again lately. . In Neal Layton’s “Bartholomew and the Bug,” Bartholomew the bear meets a bug with one day to live and a very strong desire to go see the lights of the city. The kind bear quickly realizes this poor bug will not be able to make it to the city on his own and decides to guide him. Adventure ensues as they descend down the mountain, cross rivers and valleys, and hitch a ride to the big city. Upon arrival, the city isn’t as bright as it looked from the mountain top. But, as day turns to night, the entire city is lit in the brightest lights either of them have ever seen- and many other bugs join the party. They dance the night away and have the time of their lives. Bartholomew is forever changed by the experience and the memory of his bug friend. . This book is so silly and serious at the same time. A bug that is constantly saying things like “Wow Crazee!” And “Wild!” teaches us the importance of living each day as if it were your last, taking risks, and how new experiences can change your life. The grizzly bear was enjoying his day to day life of lounging around, but allowed himself to step outside of his comfort zone. His kind act and open mindedness led him to a wonderful life experience. . The author notes at he end of the book that the story was inspired by a camping trip in Nevada. There are real facts about grizzly bears and crane-flies which the story is built around. This is lovely book for learning about these creatures, for finding the joy in each day, and for seeing the beauty that can be found in the unexpected adventures of life.

A photo posted by @neal_layton on

The Tree Reviews

September 19th, 2016


Some wonderful reviews of  ‘The Tree’ from Books for Keeps and Inis Magazine. Huge thanks to both publications, I’m so glad you enjoyed this book… :)








Uncle Gobb and the Dread Shed by Michael Rosen has been shortlisted for the Sheffield Children’s Book award!


Tony Spears at the Book Nook

September 9th, 2016

Thanks to everyone who came to the recent Tony Spears event at the wonderful Book Nook in Hove!

Lots more Tony Spears events to come, watch this ‘space’ for details…


ts action space

ts signing



With the first Tony Spears Book being published today, I thought I’d write a blog post giving a bit more background to the story…

I’ve been working on this new series for about 3 years now but I guess it’s actually the culmination of my life long interest in space exploration, and science fiction, and the games I used to play when I was young, so you could say I’ve been working on it for much longer than that.

Children, I hope you enjoy it!

Grown ups- if you’re reading it with your families I thought you might like to look out for these hidden references…

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol– my favourite book when I was a boy. I had the version illustrated by Tenniel.

Star Trek. A part of the plot references the 60’s TV series, and one of the problems ‘Scotty’ was always up against. If you’re familiar with that show you might recognise the design on the back of The Invincible’s chair.

There’s also an album title by Radiohead hidden in there, and if you are a musician you might also recognise some of the dials on the Invincible as the type used on Marshall Amps, cranked to 11 or course.

Finally Mr Simpson if you are reading this, yes Tony’s teacher is slightly based upon you as you were my favourite teacher when I was at primary school. I hope you don’t mind, it is meant to be a complement!

Book Two is already written, watch this ‘space’ for more details. The universe is a very big place, who knows what else is out there?



Photo 05-07-2016, 06 39 21

Emergency take off!


Photo 05-07-2016, 06 37 39

Gatorilla attack!


Photo 05-07-2016, 06 36 27

More Gatorillas!


Photo 05-07-2016, 06 36 00

Plumpy chats to Tony.


The Invincible Tony Spears
ISBN: 9781444919523
Publication date: 14 Jul 2016
Page count: 225
Imprint: Hodder Children’s Books



04 The Tree


The Guardian Childrens Book Site have just published a piece showing how I made my latest picture storybook ‘The Tree’ in pictures.

‘The Tree’ is published by Walker Chidren’s Books.


Island City Stories

May 10th, 2016


A 1 minute film of me at work made for the IslandCityStories project by students at Portsmouth Uni…



Island City Stories is a collaborative project between students and staff in The Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI), University of Portsmouth and local independent businesses and community groups in Portsmouth.
Students from BA Film Production are paired up with local businesses and each of their stories are told through film.
Students from BA Illustration have designed the logo/branding for ‘Island City Stories’.
The theme for 2016 is Portsmouth’s creative industries sector.


The Tree publishes today

May 5th, 2016


It’s publication day for ‘The Tree’ my new picture storybook with Walker Books…!


cover square 40cm buttercups

rabbit square 40cm

owls square 40cm

squirrels square 40cm

Trailer for ‘The Tree’

April 26th, 2016


A short trailer I made for my forthcoming picture story book ‘The Tree’

(It’s actually meant to loop which is why it’s so short…!)TS_anime1

‘The Tree’ will be published in May by Walker Children’s Books.




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