December Hedge a Gram

Happy December!

We're expecting snow tomorrow and although we had some on the booksigning tour in Denver and South Dakota, this will be our first snow of the year here at home! Children ask me why I like snow so much and why I have snowy books. The funny thing is, that many of my books are set in summer or where it's warm. People just remember my snowy books. I've often thought snow has a transforming quality. An everyday object becomes beautifully mysterious when it's coated with six inches of pure white fluffy snow. When the sun gets low, especially on a clear day the world becomes a beautiful blue.

Here's a fun art project. Take a piece of blue paper and draw a scene with everyday objects. A city street, a farm yard or your view out your window -- but draw it very lightly with pencil. Then take white colored pencil or cray-pas or chalk and create a layer of snow covering everything. Then you can use your imagination to create an interesting sky and tracks in the snow.

I usually write my hedge a gram to let children interested in my profession know what I'm working on. In November, I spent a great deal of time signing books, I went to about forty stores and met unforgettable children, teachers, librarians and mums and dads. I was really happy to meet people who have emailed me or that I have met years before. I saw one of the Blue Angels who taught me safety procedures when I flew with them in El Centro California. I have a video of the flight on my Internet site for you to see. It's one of my happiest memories. I saw a long lost cousin and old family friends that live in different parts of the country. The absolutely best thing about touring is looking into the eyes of the children who come to have their books signed. It's amazing how many colors the human eye comes in - and children have the most intense and clearest eyes of all. I've seen golden eyes, moss green eyes, emerald eyes, almost black eyes, and all shades of brown and blue. The worst thing about touring is no vegetables. It's very hard to find good veggies when you're travelling.

Right now, I'm on the last double page spread of Daisy Comes Home. I finished the jacket but I may have to do it over. I'm mentioning this so if you are a student you'll know that even professional artist have to "dig deep" and try harder.

Finishing up a year's worth of work is a mixture of two emotions. First, I'm tired of drawing some elements in the story like the mountains. Second, I'm going to miss having all the finished pages in my studio to look at and ponder over. These are somewhat conflicting feeling that I have gotten used to.

Before I sign off, thank you for reading my new book Hedgie's Surprise. Many of you have emailed me about it. It seems like a lot of little boys have said they like the part where the Tomten gets stuck by Hedgie's prickles. I hope that's because they know that he's protecting Hennie the hen, and he's just not being mean!

Don't miss the Trim a Christmas Tree page on my Internet site - it has twinkly candles and ornaments from my Christmas books, and you can send print it out to share with your friends.

Bye for now,

Your friend,

Jan Brett