Neasden Control Centre – the illustrator, designer and artist otherwise known as Stephen Smith – is no stranger to creating casts of characters that set out to intrigue and delight. Take the friendly critters in his installations the Royal London Hospital’s children’s dental ward – a compelling woodland assembly to help take the edge off potentially rather unpleasant procedures – or the jovial crab and chums in a similar project for the Bellhouse Children’s ward at John Radcliffe NHS Hospital Oxford.
For anyone that knows his work, and even those who don’t, it seems strange that Smith’s images haven’t graced a children’s book yet. But thankfully, that has changed with the launch of Born Bad. Written by CK Smouka and illustrated beautifully by Smith, the book is centred on a “bad” wolf who, through meeting a variety of other animals, realises that maybe he doesn’t have to be so bad after all. “It explores the essence of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, with the focus on how other animals’ identities change according to their environment,” explains Smith.
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