The Surprise

This back-to-school season, individuality is in! Nothing makes a splash like being uniquely yourself–and celebrating what makes you different.

From acclaimed authors Zadie Smith and Nick Laird, with art from exciting newcomer Magenta Fox, comes a powerful picture book debut!

“[A] delightful tale for little oddballs everywhere.”–Entertainment Weekly

Meet Maud: a guinea pig who inexplicably wears a judo suit–and not everyone understands or approves. When Maud is thrown into a new and confusing situation, it takes brave decisions and serendipitous encounters for her to find her place and embrace her individuality.

The Surprise is an endearing story about the quiet power of being different by New York Times bestselling author Zadie Smith and award-winning writer Nick Laird, and introduces an exciting debut illustrator, Magenta Fox. Together they have created a picture book that adults and children alike will treasure.

Zadie Smith is the author of the novels White TeethThe Autograph ManOn BeautyNW, and Swing Time, as well as three collections of essays, Changing My MindFeel Free, and Intimations, and a collection of short stories, Grand Union. Zadie was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2002, and was listed as one of Granta‘s 20 Best Young British Novelists in 2003 and again in 2013.

Nick Laird is the recipient of many prizes for his poetry and fiction, including the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Ireland Chair of Poetry Award, the Betty Trask Prize, a Somerset Maugham award, and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. He is on faculty at New York University and Professor of Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University in Belfast. His latest collection Feel Free was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Award and the Derek Walcott Prize.

Magenta Fox was born in southwest London in 1994. She studied English at the University of Exeter and since moving back to London in 2015, has been working as a children’s book designer. These days she works freelance–illustrating, writing, and designing children’s books from her flat in south London.


Availability: In stock

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