October Hedge a Gram

Hi, this is Jan!

It's October - a month so full of awaited events, I can't imagine how it will all unfold! Most importantly, I have the jacket and three more double page spreads left to do on my year 2000 book, Hedgie's Surprise.

For those of you who follow my hedge a grams, you'll know I've been working on various stages of my children's book - getting an idea, creating a dummy or cartoon version of the story, doing sketches, and finally, the finished paintings. If you are just stopping by, I should explain that my monthly hedge a gram is posted so future children's book authors and illustrators will get an idea of what an illustrators life can be like. When it's time to do the jacket of my book, I get a real jolt of excitement. Not only is it the doorway into a year's work, but it's like a poster letting everyone know what hides inside the cover. Quite a few people from my publisher, Penguin/Putnam collaborate on the jacket with me. My editor, Margaret helps, the art director, Cecilia designs the image, Dave calligraphers the display type, and Gunta, designs how the type will look and even what color it will be. Sometimes other editors on the children's floor will share their talents and experience too. After a year of working by myself, it's great to be on a team!

One momentous October occasion is the beginning of my book tour to introduce Gingerbread Baby. The cities and bookstores I'll be visiting are posted on my Internet site. I hope I'll be able to meet each and every one of you. I love to hear people's ideas and impressions, and often think back during moments of solitude about children, parents, teachers and librarians, that I've met.

I know many children will ask if Hedgie or my hens will come to meet everybody. The book tour is too strenuous for them. Happily my friends, Gretchen and Nicki will take care of the animals and collect the hen's eggs.

By the way, my two hens, Pansy and Belle are really getting big. They positively strut. They're are silver laced Wyandottes, a breed that is beautiful and does well in cold New England winters. They have new friend, Dahlia, who is of a Delaware breed. She's a laying hen that is white, over a year old and affectionately called a biddy. I bought her from Caleb Johnson, a boy I met at the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield Massachusetts where an exhibition of heritage breeds was going on. All three of my hens are getting along very well, as long as I'm fair with their treats - they keep track!

Now that you are settled in your classrooms, I hope you'll keep trying hard to take advantage of all your learning opportunities. Be creative too! I know you are because some of you send me your fantastic drawings - I'm looking at one right now.

By for now. I hope to meet you in person this fall.

Best wishes,

Jan Brett