Happy October,

     This is Jan Brett and my October Hedge-a-gram, the time I try to put into words what my life is like as an author/illustrator.
     If you attended the National Book Festival on the mall in Washington, D.C. last weekend, and stopped by to have your poster signed, I would like to thank you very much.  I enjoyed speaking to all of you who came to my talk and I loved answering questions.  It was a great to see a real live hedgehog as one of the audience members, and I imagine there were some surprised faces at the security pass-through.  The First Lady, Mrs. Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna spoke about their new book, READ ALL ABOUT IT, just before my turn and security was tight.  But not too tight for one small hedgehog!
     A trip to Washington, D.C. to see our capital, its museums and monuments is a worthwhile effort, and I was reminded of what a great country we are.  The Library of Congress' Jefferson building was part of the setting for the festival and it is breathtaking.  The largest library in the world, the Library of Congress is a busy vibrant place.  Many people I've met, taxi drivers, waiters, friends and friends of friends, do research there for various projects.  I was surprised at how many people it touches.
     The book festival, open free to the public, was conceived of by the First Lady, Laura Bush, and it offered many chances to meet authors of children's books, adult novels, and everything in between.  Author, Jon Scieszka, who wrote THE STINKY CHEESE MAN, and THE TRUE STORY OF THE THREE LITTLE PIGS, was there as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, and we all enjoyed the huge medal he received for his work bringing books to children.  We both are published by Penguin - Putnam, so I feel like we're on the same team!
     I missed my work, so I'm glad to be working on HOPPI'S EASTER EGG again.  Ever since I started working on the story, I've met so many people with exotic, personality filled rabbits.  One new friend spins knitable yarn from her angora rabbits, another bunny, Tiki, lives at the local feed store and was headline news when she was stolen and later brought back to her heartbroken owner by the police.  Another friend owned rabbits named Lefty and Righty, they lived to be ten years old, and dug a six foot deep rabbit warren in their pen, but always appeared when they heard their owner's footsteps above.  Some rabbits become members of the family and are house broken and affectionate.   I'll never forget the red dwarf rabbit in its leather harness that came to my booksigning in Portland, Oregon.  She would stand up on her hind feet and touch noses with her eleven year old owner, when the girl said, "kiss-kiss".
     One of the best parts of creating my new book is envisioning the Easter rabbit's egg wagonnaire.  I have a picture of it in my mind.   When I went to the Eastern New York State Poultry Show this past weekend, I saw just the kind of chickens that should pull it.  It will be a eight chicken hitch, and the chickens will be Buff Cochin, a huge, fluffy magnificent breed with feathered feet.  That way, the Easter Rabbit can travel very quietly.  I got to pick one of Tom Roebuck's Cochins up, and it was very big, like a pumpkin colored beach ball, only feathery, with bright eyes and a dignified face.
     At the end of the month, I'll be boarding my big bus to begin my tour for GINGERBREAD FRIENDS.  I can't wait to draw the Gingerbread Baby as part of my presentation for everyone who comes to my booksignings.  I'll have posters for the first 100 people in line, bookplates, buttons, and newsnotes too.  Hedgie will be appearing and will be pleased to pose with anyone who asks.  On my tour bus, I'll be drawing when I'm not at a booksigning, because I want to create many coloring pages for my website that everyone can use to compose a giant gingerbread village mural.
     If you can come to one of my booksignings, I'd love to see any drawings you might have.
     Bye for now,

                             Happy Reading,

                                Jan Brett