I'm thrilled to introduce today's VERY SPECIAL GUEST, who has written such a fun piece for me to help celebrate 40 YEARS of one the most beloved picture books ever.
I'm so excited.
Please welcome the one and only Hazel Edwards!
“Creativity is the fun of putting together unexpected ideas”
Hazel still lives in the same house , where she got the idea for There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake. She wrote her first book in Grade 6. Each birthday she writes a story around photos for the children in her family. She has 200 books published, some in languages like Chinese, Korean, Auslan signing, Tamil, and Braille. She writes for adults and for children. She likes finding out about people, places and ideas. Antarctica is the coolest place she’s gone.
Hazel is a Reading Ambassador. And an aqua readaholic. Don’t tell the librarian that she reads in the bath! Hijabi Girl co-written with librarian Ozge Alkan, will be a touring Larrikin Puppetry musical performance in 2020. And in 2020, the age-less cake-eating hippo celebrates 40 years of being a favourite book character who has also performed on stage in a musical and is 'the most borrowed' book in some libraries. Hazel's 8-year-old grandson helped her craft the last hippo picture book, Ho Ho Ho There's a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Christmas Cake. So there's a thank you to him inside the book. Now he is writing his own stories.
Each of Hazel’s books has a page of reviews & notes & news with downloadable covers and where book is available and speaking events at www.hazeledwards.com
has useful links for aspiring writers.
hippo book including 40th
HIjabi Girl puppets soon.
adult mystery with quirky problem-solving celebrant
Hazel’s memoir about risk-taking & writing life when you have a family
about The Boy Within inspiring a comic novel
THE TWO OF US
The Cake-Eating Hippo and author Hazel Edwards
It’s a challenge when your 40 year old friend can’t be photographed because he’s imaginary.
Most people don’t know me, but they know my cake-eating hippo character from There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake.
Thoughtful publishers made me a large stuffed hippo to use at book signings, but it’s odd to have a ‘real’ hippo who is supposed to be imaginary. Children love to cuddle the hippo, but it’s challenging to clean, especially if the filling has to be taken out first.
Mainly the hippo books are about having a friend to help you cope with your fears of doing something for the first time: like going to hospital, or school or having a new baby in the family.
Even 40 years later, I still have to check whether it’s Our or My Roof in the title. I keep meaning to stick to giving my books short, one word titles, but all the hippo titles are pretty long, and few readers remember them exactly.
‘Food is the sex of children’s books’ and many children’s books have associated food. Until recently I’ve tasted many hippo-shaped cakes prepared by enthusiastic librarians, teachers and children, but now I have parents asking me if I provide flour-free cakes in case their children have allergies. Even when I explain that both the cake and the hippo are imaginary, and if they choose to have ‘real’ cake, I have no objection to a specially prepared cup cake for their child, I do wonder how far authorial responsibility goes for the words you have written?
Especially if a character has a mind of its own!
And since I’ve recently turned to writing adult crime with my celebrant sleuth in Wed, Then Dead on the Ghan (KINDLE) some readers are uncomfortable. The reality is that ‘motives’ and structure are relevant both for writing children’s fantasy and writing adult mysteries. Both demand an internal logic. Besides I’ve always written in several genres (including non fiction on sociopaths and difficult people), it’s just that the cake-eating hippo is best known.
Viewpoint of Cake-Eating Hippo
It’s difficult to keyboard your thoughts when you are a hippopotamus. Even more so when you are imaginary.
Sceptics think I don't exist.
But I'm 40 this year. That's quite old for a fantasy creature.
I'm the cake-eating hippo who lives on the roof and in children's imagination.
Ever since 4-year-old Trevelyan thought it was me making the noise on the leaking roof, others have acknowledged me too.
I was born in the pages of There's a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake. Hazel Edwards gave me words. Deborah Niland drew me.
When they read, in many languages including Braille and Auslan signing for deaf children, millions of parents and children 'own' me.
I am Reassurance because I am big and will look after things.
I am Imagination because you need that to envisage me.
And I am Fun.
People complain that real hippos don't eat cake.
But sometimes it's carrot cake.
So, for my 40th, I give you the gift of a KEY to your Imagination.
Check out the 40 memories in Hazel’s Hippocampus where memories are stored.
A children’s author and a character are one, rather than the two of us!
Want to guest blog or be interviewed? Got a cover reveal or book coming out?
Get in touch today!