8 Oct 2012

A lovely review

A lovely review from Pam Norfolk at the St Helen's Reporter: Take one rib-tickling lion, a very cute little girl and a big, big secret ... and what do you have? Helen Stephens’ quirky new picture book packed with laughter, lovely pictures and a lovable lion.

So how does a very small girl hide a very large lion? It’s not easy, but Iris has to do her best because mums and dads can be funny about having a lion in the house. Luckily, there are lots of good places to hide a lion – behind the shower curtain, in your bed and even up a tree. But can Iris hide her lion forever?
Stephens, creator of Fleabag and The Night Iceberg, has her hand well and truly on the pulse of children’s humour and this heart-warming story about a very special friendship will win her new fans from the older generation.

She provides a simple text and an easy-to-understand story, ideal for pre-school children with a short attention span. The adorable big yellow lion, a cast of brilliant characters and off-beat illustrations have a distinctly nostalgic feel in their style and presentation, providing all the right ingredients for a firm family favourite.

2 Oct 2012

'How to Hide a Lion' Launch Party

My new book, 'How To Hide A Lion' is set in a town that is based on my new home town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. So when I thought about having a launch party, Berwick Town Hall seemed like the perfect place.

In the run up to the launch, I visited 3 local schools, Spittal First School, Tweedmouth West First School, and Scremerston First School. I worked with over 350 children, each one making something to contribute towards making a model town of Berwick. The work they did was wonderful, what amazed me most was the variety of the work. When I asked them to make fishing boats, each one was completely different. There are some genuinely beautiful things, I think we have some very talented children and inspiring teachers in Berwick.

But at this stage I still had no idea how all of the models would work together, would they be too small in such a large hall? Would anybody even come to see it?

But my fears were unfounded. The night before the launch we had access to the town hall, and as we set up the model Berwick, we began to see how wonderful it was going to be.

I went to sleep that night feeling quietly confident that model Berwick looked great, and that we'd have lots of happy visitors.

The next day was a sunny day. We put up the banner and the big lion sign, and opened the doors. Within minutes the hall was full of people, which was wonderful to see. I recognised lots of faces from the schools I'd visited, and they were so excited to their work.

This is one of the activity tables. The children drew some fantastic lions and Berwick houses.

This is my little girl, Frieda, she is Iris in the book.

By the end of the day we had sold out of everything! Alison ran around to a few local shops scooping up their stock. It is always hard to judge how many books you will need.

Thank you so much to all the teachers and children I met when I visited the schools, and thanks to everyone who came along to support us. Thanks to my friend and fellow illustrator Vanessa Cabban for taking lots of these photos for me.