February Hedge a Gram

It's February, and and I hope that everyone had a great Valentine's Day. My husband Joe and I are enjoying all of the poems and well wishes to Hedgie for the Valentine's Day contest. The artwork Grand Prize is all ready and I've ordered the Owl and the Pussycat books that I'll sign for the other winners.

This last week has been very eventful for me. After reading The Night Before Christmas in Boston's Symphony Hall with the wonderful and talented Greater Boston Youth Symphony I really wanted to do another story that had a musical connection. I was very excited about illustrating Peter and the wolf by Serge Prokofief for my book for the Fall of 2000 (This Fall's book, The Gingerbread Baby is all done.) I wanted to start this week on my book dummy. After research, I found that the copyright laws have changed and Peter and the wolf is no longer in public domain. What that means is that it's private property! These laws are very respected and important. Peter and the wolf is my favorite musical story and I hope you will take the tape out of the library and listen to it. Thanks to everyone that gave their "thumbs up" to Peter and the Wolf.

Hedgie is very happy because instead of Peter and the Wolf my new book for next year will star him. It's a story that I wrote myself and it's set in Norway which is one of my favorite places. Can you guess what mischievous imaginary creature will also appear in my story?

One of the characters is a hen. When I was little, I had a pet hen, named Delly. She was a Rhode Island Red hen. She would ride around on my shoulder making creaky groaning sounds, which are normal for hens. She never laid an egg that we could find, but she was very tame. She could be counted on to jump up on our woodpile when we sat down to dinner and peck at the window. I'm hoping to get a chick this spring - they grow into hens pretty fast. If I don't, it will be because where we live in the summer is a woodsy place where there are hungry owls, raccoons, wildcats and bears. I've seen the bear! I certainly wouldn't want my hen to be eaten.

I'll be starting on the book dummy this week (that's the sketch or cartoon version of the book), and will be working on shortening my manuscript. My editor Margaret always has good suggestions. One of the first things to learn as a writer is not to become too attached to your own ideas. The important thing is the story. Sometimes you have to give up something to get the flow of the story right.

Please give yourself a chance to write a story of your own. You might find out, like I did this week, that there's one waiting to pop right out!

Bye for now,