The story of Princess Lila and Cave, as well as the artwork, was put together by six-year-old Lila with the help of her daddy.
It was the school summer holidays of 2013. Lila was about to begin a two month break from school and although she wouldn’t waste it just watching TV, her daddy suggested making a book together.
Lila came up with a story right away about a skeleton wizard, who could fire lasers from his fingers, kidnapped a princess.
At the time Lila had watched Shrek 2 and was also in the middle of a series of books called Captain Underpants. These two tales had a heavy influence on Princess Lila and Cave. Shrek 2 reminded Lila that the princess could kick ass, whilst Captain Underpants gave her (and her father) a green light to bodily functions being in a story.
The prince (now suffering with narcolepsy) and princess swapped roles, Lila became the star, a flatulent hamster popped out of nowhere and the skeleton wizard was given the name Cave.
The story of Lila and her fight with cave has gone through a number of huge changes. Dinosaurs were replaced with ostriches. Cave went from having a wife to living alone. The people who live in the made up land of Opero went from living in little houses to all having there own castle. Cave moved from hanging out in a graveyard to also living in a castle but, for a reason only known to Lila, he lives in the basement.
Lila’s dad told her that there needed to be between three and five ‘challenges’ for Princess Lila to deal with before the final meeting with Cave and the rescue of the prince. Lila dictated what she wanted the obstacle to be and the way that the Princess would deal with it. Her dad then wrote it out and would read it back to Lila for her approval.
The final story was put together by Lila’s daddy in October of 2013 and sent to a friend of Lila’s daddy for a proof read. Even after this, Lila still wanted changes made and, seeing as she was the one in charge, the changes were made until she was happy with the story.
All of the artwork in the book was put together by Lila, however there needed to be some help from her daddy. He took the drawings that Lila had created using crayons and pen, photographed them and put them through a number of apps to ensure that they could be manipulated and added to the book print template. This also meant that Lila didn’t have to redraw the images whenever there was a change of expression, instead she was able to draw directly onto the device – for example tears, motions lines, a smiling face becoming a frowning face.
The final book is a story created by Lila and illustrated by Lila but formatted and tweaked for the readers by her daddy.
The Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children
Princess Lila and Cave was not written or built with profit or money gain in mind and so when the book was complete Lila’s daddy decided that any money made should go to charity. Lila had a letter from her school that asked parents not to buy teachers a present but to make a donation to the NICFC instead. Lila’s daddy then decided to contact the organisation and see if they would be happy enough for the use of their logos and links in the project and to also receive the money made from the sales of the book. They got back to Lila’s daddy very quickly and were very pleased to be part of this.
You can find out more about what this brilliant organisation does here