June Hedge a gram

Happy June!

     I guess it must be spring, because I have a lot of chicks and ducklings running around.  Some day I would like to illustrate The Ugly Duckling, so I am taking photos of my four black indie ducklings.  They are very shy and would rather be left alone.   My ten new chicks are the opposite.   They mob me and fly onto the camera, probably because they think there might be something to eat up there!   I am thinking up a story about a bunny, but as of now, we don't have any rabbits.
     I am fascinated by the lives of animals, and their unique worlds.  Many of my stories come from questions I have asked myself about animals.  The first book I wrote Fritz and the Beautiful Horses was about a pony that taught many children how to ride.   Then I wrote Annie and the Wild Animals.   That story came in response to the constant requests of my daughter for a pet cheetah, or wolf, or dolphin.   We ended up with a cat for a pet, and Pity the cat soon had kittens just like in the book. 
     The First Dog was about, "What are dogs thinking?"   Our Siberian Husky, Perky, was the model for the First Dog.  My chickens starred in Hedgie's Surprise and in Daisy Comes Home.  The pet that appears the most, hands down, is Hedgie the Hedgehog.  We've had our hedgehog Buffy for about seven years.   Because she's nocturnal we don't see much of her, but I am fascinated by the way she protects herself and by all of her habits.
     If you have a pet, or if someone close to you has an animal that intrigues you, think about writing a story about it and illustrating it.  Traditionally, people have used animals to tell stories.  Some of the stories reflect the animals abilities, and often the writer adds in a lesson he or she thinks is important or they add observations about our human world.  If you have ever read Aesop's Fables you will have experienced one of the oldest examples of this way of telling a story.  What ever culture you are from, you can find an animal story that's been passed down from generation to generation.  You may have an animal story told right in your own family.
     Right now I'm illustrating The Umbrella.  It takes place in Costa Rica.  Most of the animals I have either never seen or have only seen once in a zoo.   I read as much as I can about the animals so I can draw them accurately and describe their behavior.  I'm learning about a tree frog, quetzal, toucan, kinkajou, tapir, monkey, jaguar, and hummingbird.   They have human-like characteristics in my story.   They even speak English and Spanish.
     I'd be so proud to think that after reading my hedge a gram that you sat down and wrote a story, either in words or pictures.  I know you'll come up with something brand new.  Good luck!   

      Bye for now.
                                  Your friend,

                                    Jan Brett