April Hedge-a-gram

    It's finally spring in my home town, little buds are growing on our maple trees, and the crocus and snowdrops are blossoming all around us. I'm glad to be home after traveling to Europe to find ideas for next year's book, The Gingerbread Baby. In the Swiss town of Zermatt, I saw the Swiss chalet houses that I will use as a starting point for the house the Gingerbread Baby springs to life in. I say "starting point" because I want to use my imagination to make the houses appear the way I see them in my mind. In my book I want to have the feeling of a place where unusual things could happen. A big challenge will be to draw the beautiful mountains that I saw. I took pictures and brought back books and postcards, but there isn't any substitute for remembering the beauty of the country in my own mind's eye. 

     Now that I'm home, I'll be finishing my book dummy, the sketch version of the book that I'll show my editor, Margaret, and my art director, Cecilia. They will tell me their impressions and help me decide on the final version of the text and artwork. If this is your first visit to my Home Page, the idea behind my monthly hedge-a-grams is to let you in on the different stages a book goes through as it takes shape. Kids often are surprised at how long it takes to make a book, and I'd like to help you understand how the process unfolds as the year goes by. The first sketches of The Gingerbread Baby are a long way from the finished book you'll see in a library or bookstore.

     I've just seen the press proofs of this year's book, The Night Before Christmas. It's going to be printed and bound in a few weeks. Having your own book printed is a great feeling. Finally, after two years of planning, research and painting, I can look forward to sharing it with everyone. The surprising thing is that when people first see it, they view it differently that I think they will. It's always a learning experience for me. Perhaps, you've had a similar experience with writing your own stories. 

    Good luck with your projects, and thanks from stopping by to visit.

                      Very best regards,

                       Jan Brett