Enfield boy stakes claim as ‘world’s youngest author’

Four-year-old Esse has published a book telling a story about a ‘baby fox’ he told to his father

As well as authoring a book, Esse has launched a publishing house
As well as authoring a book, Esse has launched a publishing house

A four-year-old boy from Enfield Highway could become the world’s youngest author after his father helped him turn his own bedtime story into a published picture book.

Transcribed from the imagination of Esse Loewenthal, Baby Fox – available to buy at online retailers, including Waterstones – is a short, charming story about the misadventures of a young fox which even manages to include a dramatic plot twist involving a jellyfish.

Esse had yet to reach his fourth birthday at the time Baby Fox was published in April. While the current record for youngest author is held by someone who was aged four years and ten months, Guinness World Records has told the family they can’t claim it until 1,000 copies of the 30-page book have been sold.

So far, they have shifted around 400 copies, giving them until the end of the year to sell another 600.

Explaining his son’s remarkable achievement, proud dad Sholi Loewenthal told the Dispatch: “When Esse was aged about one-and-a-half we started noticing that he learned the ABCs by heart and, by age two, we noticed he was reading words.

“All the way through from two to three he was reading and he was reading really well. We were doing bedtime stories but he would want us to do two, three, four of them – we had to limit it.”

With his imagination growing, story-obsessed Esse one day turned the tables on his parents by reading aloud his own imagined tales, based around a character he conjured called ‘Baby Fox’. Impressed, Sholi began recording them on his phone.

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“Myself and my wife were telling our own bedtime stories that we would make up. When Esse was three-and-a-half, we got a book for his bedtime with empty pages, and he got us to draw characters from our stories. Then he decided he wanted to tell us a bedtime story himself. When we began recording them we noticed they were quite interesting.”

Esse collecting his book from the printers
Esse collecting his book from the printers

Sholi said Esse has so far come up with “dozens” of stories, many of which use the same Baby Fox character. Although he would sometimes go on “meandering journeys”, Sholi realised many were “distinct and powerful”.

Asked how he made the leap to publishing the story, Sholi said: “It has all been his initiative. He would ask us when we were going to print the book. We were looking for publishers, and he was going through every word. He was familiar with different publishers like Penguin but then he decided he wanted to publish it himself and he said he wanted to call it ‘British Isles Publishing’.

“He chose a logo and we helped cut out the letters.”

Sholi used artificial intelligence to illustrate the book, after putting the text into OpenAI software. The result is eclectic, but it works well. More stories are now in the works.

“If Esse wants to carry on with it and other people start hearing about it and buying it, who knows, it could turn into a real business.”

To find out more about Esse and buy a copy of Baby Fox:

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