When we heard that the National Media Museum in Bradford was holding a Horrid Henry half term monster special we had to be there. Ethan is just starting to get into Horrid Henry books and anything that encourages him to read isn’t a bad thing. Personally I’m not sure I *like* HH that much. Here Ethan is in his Horrid Henry fancy dress costume.
Anyway the whole event sounded awesome! The boys had never been to the Media Museum and it was quite a few years since I had been but I knew that they would love the fun, interactive displays that it offers. Also there was Francesca Simon, A list author of the hugely successful Horrid Henry books, reading from the latest book and signing copies. the illustrator Tony showing how he draws the characters and tons of other fun stuff.
At school Ethan is learning about authors and illustrators and their involvement in producing a book. This event offers the opportunity to bring this learning to life!
We had prebooked tickets for the “Story Time with Francesca Simon”, “Drawing Horrid Henry” and “Horrid Henry Monster Animation”. I wasn’t sure how much the boys would be able to take in, particuarly Noah as he is still only 3 and lots of the activities were really for children aged 5+. Anyway we went with it and they were both absolutely fine luckily.
“Story Time with Francesca Simon” was in the Pictureville Cinema, which is like an old fashioned cinema hall in one sense but very cosy and with comfy seats. Francesca Simon gave a great account of how she got into writing the Horrid Henry books. She was engaging and charismatic and the children were spellbound by her accounts of the use of alliteration (steming from studying Old English at University) and how she came up with some of the character names and how theses characters developed (inspired by family members). This was followed by Francesca reading from the latest book “Horrid Henry’s Monster Movie” and a Q&A session where the children fired questions at Francesca. Next it was book signing time and we had a short wait before it was our turn. When we came out of the cinema and back into the museum the queue to meet Francesca Simon was crazy. She is one very popular author!!
Next we headed for “Horrid Henry’s Monster Animation”. This took place in a gallery. The children were given a choice of coloured card to create their monster’s head/body, arms, legs and horns. These were stuck together with bluetac and the boys could drawn on them and stick on googly eyes. Once this was done we were shown to a bay of computers and using the I Can Animate software they produced a little stop motion cartoon in literally minutes! Here is the one we created. The software was very easy to use and good fun with great results of something so simple. Also on offer in the Monster Animation gallery was the opportunity to colour in monster masks and displays of Horrid Henry’s Menacing Makeovers. The boys really loved watching fake cuts and bruises be created!
We had a little free time after this and wandered upstairs to the Fancy Dress where the boys could dress up as monsters. This was a very busy area and there wasn’t huge amounts of costumes and masks available. Noah had lots of fun here though! There was also the opportunity to make Horrid Henry Digital Stories but this had to be pre-booked in reception.
“Drawing Horrid Henry” also took place in the Pictureville Cinema and we were issued with a clipboard, paper and pencil before being seated. Disappointingly, it wasn’t Tony Ross, in person, giving the session but instead a film presentation. I can see why this was done like this and it worked out well. The children were given the opportunity to watch and draw the characters. I liked the way he encouraged creativity and no to worry about making mistakes as these often turn out to be the best illustrations.
We also had a look around the rest of the museum which offered amazing insight into what goes on behind the scenes of TV and cinema. It is all fun, interactive and educational at the same time! The boys also loved the Games Lounge and the Magic Factory. Entry to the museum is free although donations are welcomed.
We would highly recommend if you are able to catch this exhibition before Sunday that you head there or keep a watch on the NMM website to catch other events they have on there as they are guaranteed to be a worthwhile and fun day out.
Huge thanks to Emily for her help in scheduling in our day’s activities and Michelle who helped me out on the day with a parking panic!
Disclaimer: We received no compensation for writing this post, apart from a fabulous day out!