May Hedge-a-gram


Thank you for visiting my web site! For all of you that are following along with my monthly Hedge-a-grams, I have lots of news. If this if the first time you've seen my hedge-a-gram, let me explain. Because kids and teachers like to know the behind the scenes work of an author, I thought that it would be a happy learning experience for you to follow along through my year creating a book. This year, the book I'm retelling and illustrating is The Gingerbread Baby. I've finished my book dummy or cartoon version of the new picture book (which is always 32 pages) and I went to G. P. Putnam's, my publisher in New York to have a meeting about it. My editor, Margaret, liked the boisterous fun feeling of the baby's personality, so baby may do even more rascally things in the finished book. All the more reason everyone wants to catch him!

My art director, Cecilia, helps me with the design of the pages - when we work together we are concerned with where the viewers eye will go - for me, it's easy to put in lots of detail, so we try to plan and leave enough space for the type.

I have had lots of fun cooking springerle cookies. They are traditional in Switzerland where I've set my version of the story. These cookies are made with carved wooden molds and they can be of animals, flowers, people or designs. They will form the borders of my book, with the shape of the gingerbread boy stamped out of each side panel of the page to show and extra scene.

Next I'm going to be baking gingerbread people, and as they come out of the oven, I'll shape them to match the book characters' antics. Also on my list of things to do is to visit my friend Nancy's farm to sketch her goats, go to a dog show to see Bernese Mountain Dogs puling their painted milk carts, and get together the photos of my friend, Alexander, who is the inspiration for the little boy. Right now the boy in the book doesn't have a name. It must be Swiss, but still a name American children will be comfortable with, and also it needs to be a short name.

If you have any suggestions, I hope that you'll drop me an email note.

Now that I'm at work on the "finishes" (the artwork that you'll see in the book) for The Gingerbread Baby, I want to be in my art studio every minute.

Good luck with your drawings and stories.