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Layton, Neal 1971–

Layton, Neal 1971–

(Neal Andrew Layton)

Personal

Born December 19, 1971, in Chichester, England; married; wife an artist. Education: University of Northumbria at Newcastle, B.A. (graphic design; with honors), 1994; Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design, M.A. (illustration; with distinction), 1998.

Addresses

Home—Portsmouth, England. Agent—Arena, 11 King's Ridge Rd., Long Valley, NJ 07853. E-mail—neal@neallayton.co.uk.

Career

Freelance writer and illustrator, 1997—. Epsom Art College, tutor, 2000. Exhibitions: Work included in exhibitions in London, Bethnal Green, Bury St. Edmunds, Mildenhall, and other British cities, and at the Society of Illustrators Museum of American Illustration, New York, NY, 1999.

Awards, Honors

Bronze award, Nestlé Smarties Book Prize, 2002, for Oscar and Arabella, 2004, for Bartholomew and the Bug; Stockport Children's Book Award, Sheffield Chil- dren's Book Award, and Portsmouth Children's Book Award, all 2004, all for Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me Alone; Nestlé Gold Children's s Book Prize, 2006, for That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown by Cressida Cowell.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

The Photo, Bloomsbury (London, England), 1998, published as Smile If You're Human, Dial Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 1999.

The Sunday Blues: A Book for Schoolchildren, Schoolteachers, and Anybody Else Who Dreads Monday Mornings, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

Oscar and Arabella, Hodder Children's (London, England), 2002.

Hot Hot Hot (sequel to Oscar and Arabella), Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

Bartholomew and the Bug, Hodder Children's (London, England), 2004.

The Story of Everything: From the Big Bang until Now (pop-up book), paper engineered by Corina Fletcher, Barron's Educational (Hauppauge, NY), 2006.

Mammoth Academy in Trouble, Hodder Children's (London, England), 2007.

Oscar and Arabella and Ormsby, Hodder Children's (London, England), 2007.

ILLUSTRATOR

Susan McPadden, Baked Beans, Bananas, and Tomato Sauce, Tango (London, England), 1998.

Michael Rosen, Rover, Bloomsbury (London, England), 1999.

Lucy Coates, Neil's Numberless World, Dorling Kindersley (New York, NY), 2000.

Francesca Simon, Three Cheers for Ostrich, David & Charles (London, England), 2000.

Frieda Wishinsky, Nothing Scares Us, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2000.

Herbie Brennan, Zartog's Remote, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2000, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.

Mandy Ross, Alphapets, Ladybird (London, England), 2001.

Gwen Grant, Race Day, Orchard (London, England), 2001.

Jamie Rix, One Hot Penguin, Young Corgi (London, England), 2001.

Brian Moses, Elephants Can't Jump and Other Poems about Animals, Belitha (London, England), 2001.

Sally Grindley, Mucky Duck, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2002, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2003.

Roger McGough, editor, Wicked Poems, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2002.

Jamie Rix, Mr. Mumble's Famous Flybrows, Corgi (London, England), 2002.

Frieda Wishinsky, Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me Alone, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.

Jack Gantos, What Would Joey Do?, Corgi (London, England), 2003.

Nicola Davies, Poop: A Natural History of the Unmentionable, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004, published as Poo: A Natural History of the Unmentionable, Walker (London, England), 2004.

Brian P. Cleary, Rainbow Soup: Adventures in Poetry, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 2004.

Miles Gibson, Little Archie, Macmillan Children's (London, England), 2004.

Michael Rose, Howler, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2004.

June Counsel, But Martin!, new edition, Picture Corgi (London, England), 2005.

Miles Gibson, Whoops—There Goes Joe!, Macmillan Children's (London, England), 2006.

Nicola Davies, Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.

Cressida Cowell, That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown, Orchard (London, England), 2006, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2007.

Nicola Davies, What's Eating You?: Parasites—The Inside Story, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2007.

Cressida Cowell, Emily Brown and the Thing, Orchard (London, England), 2008.

Contributor of illustrations to other books. Contributor to periodicals, including Nickelodeon, Sunday Express, Human Resources, and 20/20 Vision.

ILLUSTRATOR; "TOTALLY TOM" SERIES

Jenny Oldfield, Tell Me the Truth, Tom, Hodder Children's (London, England), 2002.

Jenny Oldfield, Watch out, Wayne, Hodder Children's (London, England), 2002.

Jenny Oldfield, Get Lost, Lola, Hodder Children's (London, England), 2002.

Jenny Oldfield, Keep the Noise down, Kingsley, Hodder Children's (London, England), 2002.

Jenny Oldfield, Drop Dead, Daniel, Hodder Children's (London, England), 2002.

Jenny Oldfield, Don't Make Me Laugh, Liam, Hodder Children's (London, England), 2002.

Sidelights

When Neal Layton was growing up, he did not expect to become an illustrator. In fact, the British-born artist first wanted to be an astronomer. However, Layton studied art in college and earned his master's degree in illustration. In 1998 three books featuring his artwork were published, one—The Photo—featuring an original text alongside Layton's art. Although the bulk of Layton's illustration work is done in conjunction with writers such as Nicole Davies, Jamie Rix, Michael Rosen, Sally Grindley, Cressida Cowell, and Jenny Oldfield, the artist's self-illustrated works have also consistently earned critical praise.

One of Layton's most popular original picture books, Oscar and Arabella, earned him the 2002 Bronze Nestlé Smarties Book Prize in his native England. This humor-

ous story of two woolly mammoths, also earned the author/illustrator legions of fans, whom he has rewarded with several sequels, among them Hot Hot Hot and Oscar and Arabella and Ormsby. Four years later Layton was honored with the Nestlé Gold Award for his work with writer Cressida Cowell on That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown. Reviewing this collaborative picture book in Publishers Weeky, a critic cited Layton's "zany and inventive mixed-media illustrations" as an effective reflection of Cowell's "whimsical tale." A contributor to Kirkus Reviews held a similar view, concluding that the artwork in That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown is "fresh and funny, providing [young readers with] plenty to pore over."

Featuring Layton's characteristic whimsy, The Photo—published in England as Smile If You're Human—is the story of an alien family that comes to Earth to seek out the strange species reported to reside there: humans. The aliens land in a zoo that is closed for the day; mistaking the zoo for the whole planet, they identify each of the animals but are disappointed when no humans appear. At last, the youngest alien thinks he has discovered one and takes a picture of it; but savvy young readers will quickly identify the "human" as a gorilla. "Young Earthlings will surely giggle at these peaceful, flash-happy tourists," commented a reviewer in Publishers Weekly. Marilyn Bousquin noted in Horn Book that "Layton's artistic style is the epitome of simplicity," while Lauren Peterson wrote in Booklist that his skillful mix of "clever writing and zany cartoon illustrations set this extraterrestrial tale apart."

In Oscar and Arabella Layton turns from extraterrestrials to prehistoric characters. Woolly mammoths Oscar and Arabella—he is chocolate colored while she is caramel—like to paint, snack, and explore. When they happen upon a caveman, the two mammoths lumber away, for although they like to meet new people, they prefer to stay away from dangerous ones. "Layton scribbles his naive drawings in ink and crayon," noted a reviewer in Publishers Weekly, the critic dubbing Oscar and Arabella a "nutty comedy."

Oscar and Arabella return in Hot Hot Hot and Oscar and Arabella and Ormsby. When the two mammoths find their wool too warm in the heat of summer in Hot Hot Hot, their solution is to cut it all off, with humorous results. Julia Eccleshare, writing in the London Guardian Unlimited online, described Layton's "boldly drawn animals" and "dramatic ice-age landscape" as "charming," while in School Library Journal Susan Weitz dubbed Hot Hot Hot "extremely silly" and fully of "dry humor." In Oscar and Arabella and Ormsby Layton's popular mammoths are joined by a wooly rhinoceros named Ormsby. Despite good intentions on all sides, it takes a while before all three creatures achieve a stable friendship. In the Guardian, Eccleshare concluded that the book's shaggy characters "have enormous … charm," and "the message of [Layton's] … story is a universal one."

Animal characters are also the stars of Layton's gentle picture book Bartholomew and the Bug, which finds a curious bear and a tiny insect embarking on a journey to discover the source of the light that can be seen at the edge of their wilderness home. When they finally reach their goal, a large city, the travelers are at first dismayed, but when the sun goes down and the city lights are aglow, they find the magic they have been looking for. Noting that Layton's characteristic "scribbly illustrations" highlight "the amusing contrasts" between his story's two travelers, a Kirkus Reviews writer praised Bartholomew and the Bug as a "lighthearted take on mortality."

Another of Layton's self-illustrated books, The Sunday Blues: A Book for Schoolchildren, Schoolteachers, and Anybody Else Who Dreads Monday Mornings, tells the story of Steve, who hates Mondays because it means having to go back to school. Although all the things he and his family do on Sundays are fun, Steve can not help but think that Monday is only a nighttime away. When he finally arrives at school on the dreaded Monday morning, he sees his friends and remembers what fun school can be. Lauren Peterson, in her Booklist review, wrote that "Layton uses wonderfully exaggerated facial expressions and body language" in his illustrations. A critic for Kirkus Reviews commented that the author/illustrator's technique, "incorporating crayon, collage, and lots of computer-generated backgrounds," results in "fun and hilarity."

Layton has worked with several writers to produce books for young readers, and he joins Frieda Wishinsky on both Nothing Scares Us and Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me Alone. In Nothing Scares Us Lucy and Lenny are the best of friends, both brave and fearless. When Lucy discovers that she is afraid of a monster on the television, she is not sure how to tell Lenny. When Lucy finally does admit her fear, Lenny reveals that he also has a fear: of spiders. A Publishers Weekly critic noted that Layton's "childlike technique lets him enlarge important details" in the story, such as the smile on Lenny's spider and the eight arms on Lucy's monster. Sheilah Kosco claimed in her School Library Journal review of Nothing Scares Us that the book "will appeal to both the brave and the timid alike."

In Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me Alone the two main characters are anything but best friends. Percy is constantly pestered by classmate Jennifer and he wishes she would just go away. When her family ends up moving to Europe, Percy finds himself missing Jennifer, and he is overjoyed when she writes to tell him that she is coming back. A Publishers Weekly reviewer praised Layton's "pleasingly dizzying cartoons," and noted that his illustrations add a "comic spontaneity and edginess" to Wishinsky's engaging story.

In his creative collaboration with Sally Grindley, Layton introduces readers to a duck who cannot help but be messy. In Mucky Duck a boy named Oliver Dunkley has a duck living in his backyard. The pair find ways to get grubby all day long, whether through baking, painting, or playing soccer. At the end of the day, Oliver's parents give both playmates a bath, but the two find a way to get messy once again, even on their way to bed. "Layton's illustrations are frenetic and fun," wrote Lisa Dennis in a School Library Journal review of the book, and a critic for Publishers Weekly commented that in Mucky Duck "Grindley and Layton can rely on their simple repetition to generate giggles."

In the pop-up The Story of Everything: From the Big Bang until Now Layton expands his art to three dimensions with the help of paper engineer Corinna Fletcher. Creating what a Publishers Weekly contributor called a "pithy, pop-up presentation of evolutionary history [that] puts some whiz-bang into the Big Bang," the author/illustrator injects his dry humor into a brief visual account of Earth's history.

Layton continues to explore the comic opportunities presented by nonfiction in his unique collaborations with British nature writer Nicole Davies. In such captivatingly titled volumes as Poop: A Natural History of the Unmentionable, Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth, and What's Eating You?: Parasites—The Inside Story Layton and Davies create an effective lure for even the most science-averse readers. In Poop Davies presents what Blair Christolon admitted in her School Library Journal review is "more information than an average adult cares to know" about feces, with all poop-related particulars diagramed via Layton's "primitive pen-and-ink cartoons." Extreme Animals spans the globe, bringing to reader attention those creatures able to survive the worst habitats on the planet while What's Eating You? takes the survey inward to focus on the minute ecosystem in each of us. Praising Davies' text as "breezy" and "engaging," School Library Journal contributor Cynde Suite added that it is enhanced by Layton's "simple and inviting cartoon drawings."

"I like my work to be funny and stupid and nonsensical and meaningful and sensical all at the same time," Layton once explained. "Humor is a very powerful and multifaceted thing—and it's fun, too!" "I don't specifically think of myself as drawing or writing exclusively for children," the author/illustrator added. "I think that a good book can appeal, amuse, and have meaning for people of all ages."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 1, 1999, Lauren Peterson, review of Smile If You're Human, p. 1421; July, 1999, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Rover, p. 1953; September 15, 2002, Lauren Peterson, review of The Sunday Blues: A Book for Schoolchildren, Schoolteachers, and Anybody Else Who Dreads Monday Mornings, p. 241: October 15, 2004, Ilene Cooper, review of Poop: A Natural History of the Unmentionable, p. 400; December 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth, p. 58; April 1, 2007, Ilene Cooper, review of That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown, p. 56; December 1, 2007, Stephanie Zvirin, review of What's Eating You?: Parasites—The Inside Story, p. 56.

[Image not available for copyright reasons]

[Image not available for copyright reasons]

Guardian (London, England), April 15, 2007, Julia Eccleshare, review of Oscar and Arabella and Ormsby.

Horn Book, March, 1999, Marilyn Bousquin, review of Smile If You're Human, p. 195; July-August, 2004, Martha V. Parravano, review of Hot Hot Hot, p. 439; September-October, 2004, Betty Carter, review of Poop, p. 605; January-February, 2007, Danielle J. Ford, review of Extreme Animals, p. 81; January-February, 2008, Elissa Gershowitz, review of What's Eating You?, p. 108.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2001, review of Three Cheers for Ostrich, p. 1493; June 15, 2002, review of The Sunday Blues, p. 884; April 15, 2004, reviews of Hot Hot Hot, p. 396, and Howler, p. 400; August 15, 2004, review of Poop, p. 804; June 15, 2006, review of Bartholomew and the Bug, p. 634; August 15, 2006, review of Extreme Animals, p. 838; March 1, 2007, review of That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown, p. 219.

Publishers Weekly, March 29, 1999, review of Smile If You're Human, p. 102; November 6, 2000, review of Nothing Scares Us, p. 90; April 2, 2001, review of Zartog's Remote, p. 64; December 2, 2002, review of Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me Alone, p. 51; December 23, 2002, review of Oscar and Arabella, p. 68; May 19, 2003, review of Mucky Duck, p. 72; August 30, 2004, review of Poop, p. 55; November 20, 2006, review of The Story of Everything: From the Big Bang until Now, p. 58; April 23, 2007, review of That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown, p. 49.

School Library Journal, April, 1999, Marianne Saccardi, review of Smile If You're Human, p. 101; June, 1999, Carol Ann Wilson, review of Rover, p. 106; November, 2000, Sheilah Kosco, review of Nothing Scares Us, p. 138; December, 2000, Linda M. Kenton, review of Neil's Numberless World, p. 104; April, 2001, Alison Grant, review of Zartog's Remote, p. 99; December, 2002, Marian Drabkin, review of The Sunday Blues, p. 100; February, 2003, Susan Marie Pitard, review of Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me Alone, p. 124; July, 2003, Lisa Dennis, review of Mucky Duck, p. 96; June, 2004, Susan Weitz, review of Hot Hot Hot, p. 112; August, 2004, Wendy Woodfill, review of Howler, p. 93; December, 2004, Blair Christolon, review of Poop, p. 128; December, 2006, Cynde Suite, review of Extreme Animals, p. 161; April, 2007, Martha Simpson, review of That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown, p. 96.

Sunday Telegraph (London, England), July 19, 1998, review of The Photo.

ONLINE

British Book Trust Web site,http://www.booktrusted.co.uk/ (February 15, 2008), interview with Layton.

Guardian Unlimited, http://www.books.guardian.co.uk/ (November 22, 2003), Julia Eccleshare, "Animal Magic."

Illustrators on the Net,http://www.illustrator.org.uk/ (March 31, 2004), profile of Layton.

Neal Layton Home Page,http://www.neallayton.com (February 15, 2008).

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"Layton, Neal 1971–." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Layton, Neal (Andrew) 1971-

LAYTON, Neal (Andrew) 1971-

Personal

Born December 19, 1971, in Chichester, England; son of Harry (a taxi driver) and Joyce (Davidson) Layton. Education: University of Nothumbria at Newcastle, B.A. (with honors), 1994; Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design, M.A. (with distinction), 1998.

Addresses

Home 31 High St., Flat 1, Eton, Berkshire SL4 6AX, England; fax: 01-75-367-1360. Agent Arena, 11 King's Ridge Rd., Long Valley, NJ 07853.

Career

Freelance writer and illustrator, 1997. Epsom Art College, tutor, 2000. Work has been included in exhibitions in London and other British cities, and at the Society of Illustrators Museum of American Illustration, New York, NY.

Awards, Honors

Bronze award, Nestle Smarties Book Prize, 2002, for Oscar and Arabella.

Writings

self-illustrated

The Photo, Bloomsbury (London, England), 1998, published as Smile If You're Human, Dial Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 1999.

Oscar and Arabella, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2002.

The Sunday Blues: A Book for Schoolchildren, Schoolteachers, and Anybody Else Who Dreads Monday Mornings, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

Oscar and Arabella: Hot, Hot, Hot (sequel to Oscar and Arabella ), Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

Also author of Emily's Animals.

illustrator

Susan McPadden, Baked Beans, Bananas, and Tomato Sauce, Tango (London, England), 1998.

Michael Rosen, Rover, Bloomsbury (London, England), 1999.

Lucy Coates, Neil's Numberless World, Dorling Kindersley (New York, NY), 2000.

Francesca Simon, Three Cheers for Ostrich, David & Charles (London, England), 2000.

Frieda Wishinsky, Nothing Scares Us, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2000.

Herbie Brennan, Zartog's Remote, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2000, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.

Mandy Ross, Alphapets, Ladybird (London, England), 2001.

Gwen Grant, Race Day, Orchard (London, England), 2001.

Jamie Rix, One Hot Penguin, Young Corgi (London, England), 2001.

Brian Moses, Elephants Can't Jump and Other Poems about Animals, Belitha (London, England), 2001.

Sally Grindley, Mucky Duck, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2002, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2003.

Roger McGough, Wicked Poems, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2002.

Jamie Rix, Mr. Mumble's Famous Flybrows, Corgi (London, England), 2002.

Frieda Wishinsky, Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me Alone, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.

Jack Gantos, What Would Joey Do?, Corgi (London, England), 2003.

Nicola Davies, Poop: A Natural History of the Unmentionable, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

Brian P. Cleary, Rainbow Soup: Adventures in Poetry, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 2004.

Michael Rose, Howler, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor of illustrations to other books. Contributor to periodicals, including Nickelodeon, Sunday Express, Human Resources, and 20/20 Vision.

"totally tom" series, illustrator

Jenny Oldfield, Tell Me the Truth, Tom, Hodder Children's (London, England), 2002.

Jenny Oldfield, Watch out, Wayne, Hodder Children's (London, England), 2002.

Jenny Oldfield, Get Lost, Lola, Hodder Children's (London, England), 2002.

Jenny Oldfield, Keep the Noise down, Kingsley, Hodder Children's (London, England), 2002.

Jenny Oldfield, Drop Dead, Daniel, Hodder Children's (London, England), 2002.

Jenny Oldfield, Don't Make Me Laugh, Liam, Hodder Children's (London, England), 2002.

Sidelights

When Neal Layton was growing up, he didn't expect to become an illustratorhe wanted to be an astronomer. After thinking it over, he decided to become an artist instead; after studying art in college and earning his master's degree in illustration, his first books were published in 1998. One of these, The Photo, he wrote and illustrated himself. Though much of his work is done in conjunction with another author, Layton's self-illustrated works have garnered much critical praise; in 2002, his book Oscar and Arabella was awarded the Bronze Nestle Smarties Book Prize.

The Photo, which has also been published as Smile If You're Human, is the story of an alien family that has come to Earth to seek out the strange species said to reside there: humans. The family lands in a zoo that is closed for the day; mistaking the zoo for the whole planet, they identify the animals and are disappointed in not finding any humans. At last, the young alien thinks he has discovered one and snaps a picture of it; young readers will identify the "human" as, in fact, a gorilla. "Young Earthlings will surely giggle at these peaceful, flash-happy tourists," commented a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. Marilyn Bousquin of Horn Book praised the book, noting that "Layton's artistic style is the epitome of simplicity," while Lauren Peterson, in a review for Booklist, noted, "Layton's clever writing and zany cartoon illustrations set this extraterrestrial tale apart."

Layton once told SATA about creating his first book. "Smile If You're Human was the first picture storybook I both wrote and illustrated. It began life as a project for my degree at the University of Northumbria, and after further development it was published in England, the United States, Germany, and Japan. I have always been interested in animals and space travel. The idea of combining the two came about after discovering an essay I had written as a child, 'What I Did at the Weekend.' One of the key points in the story was to make an alien family actually look alien. After experimenting with various green, bug-eyed creatures, and other clichés, I eventually found the inspiration I sought in a cubist painting by Picasso."

Layton's next solo effort, Oscar and Arabella, features prehistoric characters rather than extraterrestrials. Oscar and Arabella are two woolly mammothsOscar is chocolate colored and Arabella is caramelwho like to paint, snack, and explore. When they happen upon a caveman, they run away, for although they like to meet new people, they prefer to stay away from dangerous ones. "Layton scribbles his naive drawings in ink and crayon," noted a reviewer in Publishers Weekly, who called the story a "nutty comedy." Oscar and Arabella return in their own sequel: Oscar and Arabella: Hot, Hot, Hot. When summer comes around, the two mammoths find their wool too warm, and their solution is to cut it all off. Julia Eccleshare, writing for the Guardian Unlimited, called the "boldly drawn animals" and "dramatic ice-age landscape charming."

Another of Layton's self-illustrated books, The Sunday Blues: A Book for Schoolchildren, Schoolteachers, and Anybody Else Who Dreads Monday Mornings, tells the story of Steve, who hates Mondays because it means having to go back to school. Though all the things he and his family do on Sundays are fun, Steve can't help but think that Monday is only overnight. When he finally arrives at school on the dreaded Monday morning, he sees his friends and remembers what fun school can be. Lauren Peterson, in her Booklist review, wrote that "Layton uses wonderfully exaggerated facial expressions and body language" in his illustrations. A critic for Kirkus Reviews commented that the author/illustrator's technique, "incorporating crayon, collage, and lots of computer-generated backgrounds" are "sources of fun and hilarity."

Layton has worked with several writers producing books for young readers. He and Frieda Wishinsky worked together on two titles: Nothing Scares Us and Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me Alone. In the first, Lucy and Lenny are the best of friends, both brave and fearless. When Lucy discovers she's afraid of a monster on the television, she's not sure how to tell Lenny. When she finally does admit her fear, Lenny reveals that he has a fear of spiders. A critic for Publishers Weekly noted that Layton's "childlike technique lets him enlarge important details," such as the smile on Lenny's spider or the eight arms on Lucy's monster. Sheilah Kosco of School Library Journal claimed that Nothing Scares Us "will appeal to both the brave and the timid alike." In Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me Alone, the two main characters are anything but best friends. Percy is constantly being pestered by his classmate Jennifer and wishes she would just go away. When her family ends up moving to Europe, Percy finds himself missing Jennifer, and he is overjoyed when she writes to tell him that she is coming back. A Publishers Weekly reviewer praised Layton's "pleasingly dizzying cartoons," and noted that his illustrations add a "comic spontaneity and edginess" to the story.

Together with Sally Grindley, Layton introduces readers to a duck who can't help but be messy in Mucky Duck. Oliver Dunkley has a duck living in his backyard. The pair find ways to get grubby all day long, whether through baking, painting, or playing soccer. At the end of the day, Oliver's parents give them both a bath, but they find a way to get messy even on their way to bed, spilling their goodnight snacks. "Layton's illustrations are frenetic and fun," wrote Lisa Dennis in School Library Journal. A critic for Publishers Weekly commented, "Grindley and Layton can rely on their simple repetition to generate giggles."

Layton once told SATA: "I like my work to be funny and stupid and nonsensical and meaningful and sensical all at the same time. Humor is a very powerful and multifaceted thingand it's fun, too!

"I don't specifically think of myself as drawing or writing exclusively for children. I think that a good book can appeal, amuse, and have meaning for people of all ages."

Biographical and Critical Sources

periodicals

Booklist, April 1, 1999, Lauren Peterson, review of Smile If You're Human, p. 1421; July, 1999, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Rover, p. 1953; September 15, 2002, Lauren Peterson, review of The Sunday Blues: A Book for Schoolchildren, Schoolteachers, and Anybody Else Who Dreads Monday Mornings, p. 241.

Horn Book Magazine, March, 1999, Marilyn Bousquin, review of Smile If You're Human, p. 195.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2001, review of Three Cheers for Ostrich, p. 1493; June 15, 2002, review of The Sunday Blues, p. 884.

Publishers Weekly, March 29, 1999, review of Smile If You're Human, p. 102; February 8, 1999, "Spring 1999 Children's Books," p. 111; November 6, 2000, review of Nothing Scares Us, p. 90; April 2, 2001, review of Zartog's Remote, p. 64; December 2, 2002, review of Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me Alone, p. 51; December 23, 2002, review of Oscar and Arabella, p. 68; May 19, 2003, review of Mucky Duck, p. 72.

School Library Journal, April, 1999, Marianne Saccardi, review of Smile If You're Human, p. 101; June, 1999, Carol Ann Wilson, review of Rover, p. 106; November, 2000, Sheilah Kosco, review of Nothing Scares Us, p. 138; December, 2000, Linda M. Kenton, review of Neil's Numberless World, p. 104; April, 2001, Alison Grant, review of Zartog's Remote, p. 99; December, 2002, Marian Drabkin, review of The Sunday Blues, p. 100; February, 2003, Susan Marie Pitard, review of Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me Alone, p. 124; July, 2003, Lisa Dennis, review of Mucky Duck, p. 96.

Sunday Telegraph, July 19, 1998, review of The Photo.

online

Book Trusted Web site, http://www.booktrusted.co.uk/ (March 31, 2004), interview with Layton.

Guardian Unlimited, http://www.books.guardian.co.uk/ (November 22, 2003), Julia Eccleshare, "Animal Magic."

Illustrators on the Net, http://www.illustrator.org.uk/ (March 31, 2004), profile of Layton.

Jubilee Books.co, http://www.jubileebooks.co.uk/ (December, 2002), profile of Layton.*

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"Layton, Neal (Andrew) 1971-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Layton, Neal (Andrew) 1971-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/layton-neal-andrew-1971

"Layton, Neal (Andrew) 1971-." Something About the Author. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/layton-neal-andrew-1971