Baxendale & Kukleva’s Fishy Debut ‘Fishing for Condiments’ Reeled in by Tiny Tree

Fishing for Condiments author and illustrator Ashley Baxendale & Anna Kukleva on a red background with the Tiny Tree logo.




Tiny Tree Books has landed the debut picture book from author Ashley Baxendale. ‘Fishing For Condiments’ is a deceptively simple story, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. A touching tale that will immediately connect with young readers, Baxendale’s debut also boasts beautiful illustrations courtesy of Anna Kukleva.

‘Fishing for Condiments’ was acquired by Tiny Tree Books publisher James Shaw following a round of open submissions. 

“I felt an urge to create a meaningful text with water as its central motif,” says Ashley Baxendale. “The concept was to write a story that could be enjoyed by younger readers at face value, yet had layers of meaning to resonate with parents and more mature readers.” Illustrator Anna Kukleva adds: “We are both super excited about the impending publication of our book and hope that the readers find enjoyment in our creative vision.”

“‘Fishing for Condiments’ is so unique, both in its storytelling and its style,” says Tiny Tree publisher James Shaw. “We’re so excited to be working with Ashley and Anna and using our platform to showcase another brilliant debut picture book.”
On signing with Tiny Tree, Ashley says: It feels incredible to have been given the opportunity to work alongside Tiny Tree. Anna Kukleva and I collaborated on the project with the ambition of creating a tale we were both proud to call our own. However, being newcomers to the field, Tiny Tree provided expertise in how to elevate the picture book into something greater than we could have envisioned. I am grateful for Tiny Tree’s continued advice and direction.

About ‘Fishing For Condiments’

“What use are all your favourite sauces if you don’t have any fish?”

Under the watchful eye of Granda, Neget is beginning to understand what is meaningful in life. But when Grandpa disappears on the ice, will Neget discover for himself what he values most?

Wonderfully simple on the surface but deep and complex under the ice, this touching little story is told expertly through beautiful and engaging illustrations.

‘Fishing for Condiments’ was a fully collaborative project between the author and illustrator. “Ashley and I worked on each spread in an organic sense, discussing the text and illustrations according to our prevailing moods at the time,” elaborates Anna Kukleva. “We followed our creative flow, open to new suggestions, and unaware of how precisely the final picture book might appear. It was an exciting journey working together.”

Asked what he hoped readers would take away from the story, Ashley said: “I hope readers take note of the protagonist’s reflection of what is important in life, and in turn, reflect on their own values.” The author continues: “I am particularly interested in the idea of a younger reader interpreting more mature themes from the text after repeated readings, or from having conversations with others about the deeper significance found within the story.”

Ashley Baxendale and Anna Kukleva’s picture book is the latest in a long line of debut acquisitions from Tiny Tree. Tiny Tree publisher James Shaw adds: “We have always firmly believed in elevating new talent and with authors like Andrew Walker, Emily Wensley, Kathy Sherman, and now Ashley and Anna we are pleased to continue to do that. It’s so exciting to be able to showcase new talent”.

‘Fishing for Condiments’ is set to be published in early 2025.

About Ashley Baxendale

Ashley Baxendale rediscovered his love of picture books through his career as a primary school teacher. Ashley’s journey to becoming an author was borne out of sharing timeless and contemporary tales with school children- and his wish to contribute to this tradition. These days Ashley can be found between international schools and open-mic nights, writing stories and folk songs in spare moments.

Ashley wrote ‘Fishing For Condiments’ out of his Tbilisi apartment after being inspired by illustrator Anna Kukleva’s distinctive style. And though he is soon to relocate to Colombia, you can still hear his conspicuous flat Yorkshire vowels if you listen hard enough.

About Anna Kukleva

Anna Kukleva is a designer and illustrator based in France, originally born in a small Russian town. Anna has collaborated with international and local clients for over five years. She can be found under the name Cactus Under Rainbow, where her work draws inspiration from 60s & 70s art, hand-drawn vintage posters and natural landscapes in their simplicity and beauty. Anna depicts her imagination within her artwork, working alongside others to create bespoke pieces.

About Tiny Tree Books

Tiny Tree is an imprint of Andrews UK Limited. From its creation, the imprint has gone from strength to strength producing high-quality picture books, junior fiction, middle-grade fiction, and YA titles. Tiny Tree looks to champion new voices and talent whilst producing unique stories for children of all ages.

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