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 Picture Books Author of the Month
Jan Brett

1 December 1949 -- ???

Jan Brett was born on December 1, 1949 in Hingham, Massachusetts to George and Jean (Thaxter) Brett. Her father was a sales engineer.

Jan decided at a very early age that she wanted to be a picture book illustrator. She would spend many hours reading and drawing. "I remember the special quiet of rainy days when I felt that I could enter the pages of my beautiful picture books. Now I try to recreate that feeling of believing that the imaginary place I'm drawing really exists. The detail in my work helps to convince me, and I hope others as well, that such places might be real." [3] She attributes her creativity in part to her mother's encouragement.

After completing high school, Jan Brett went to school at Colby Junior college from 1968 to 1969. The next year, she went to study at the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts School to develop her abilities. She would spend hours at the museum. "It was overwhelming to see the room-size landscapes and towering stone sculptures, and then moments later to refocus on delicately embroidered kimonos and ancient porcelain ... I'm delighted and surprised when fragments of these beautiful images come back to me in my painting." [3]

Jan married Daniel Bowler on February 27, 1970. While the two divorced in 1979, they had a daughter named Lia together.

In 1978, Jan began her career as an illustrator with Woodland Crossings, a book written by Stephen Krensky. She illustrated that book under the name Jan Brett Bowler. She has also illustrated a number of books for Eve Bunting.

Jan is also well known for her adaptations of folk tales such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Mitten. Also, many of her books employ folk-art motifs from Eastern Europe or Scandinavia.

Travel is a constant inspiration for her. Jan visits many different countries, where she researches the architecture and costumes that appear in her work.

In 1981, Jan created her first entirely self-generated work, Fritz and the Beautiful Horses.

Jan is married to Joseph Hearn, who is a member of the Boston Symphony. They married on August 18, 1980.

She lives with her family in Norwell, a seacoast town in Massachusetts not far from where she grew up. During the summer her family moves to a home in the Berkshire Hills.

Besides enjoying the times she spends traveling with her husband, she enjoys listening to music and reading. She is usually reading at least 5 books at once. She also enjoys riding her horse, Hans.

Information for this biography was taken from:
1)Anne Commire (ed.).  Something About the Author, #42; Gale Research Company: Detroit, Mich., 19.
2) Jan Brett; http://lupus.norther.edu:90/hastingsw/janbrett.htm.
3) The Jan Brett's Homepage; http://www.janbrett.com.
4) Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast (eds.). St. James Guide to Children Writers; St. James Press: Detroit, Mich., 1999.
5) Ramsey, Inez and Susanna Elmore. Jan Brett: Teacher Resource File; http://falcon.jmu.edu/~ramseyil/brett.htm.

Titles Illustrated by Jan Brett
E-Brett Beauty and the Beast (1989) -- Through her great capacity to love, a kind and beautiful maid releases a handsome prince from the spell which has made him an ugly beast.

E-Brett Berlioz the Bear (1991) --Berlioz the bear and his fellow musicians are due to play for the town ball when their bandwagon becomes stuck in a hole in the road. A strange buzzing in Berlioz's double bass turns into a surprise that saves the day.

E-Brett Christmas Trolls (1993) -- When Treva investigates the disappearance of her family's Christmas things, she finds two mischievous trolls who have never had a Christmas of their own.

E-Brett Comet's Nine Lives (1996) -- Comet the cat uses up eight of his nine lives trying to find the right place to live on Nantucket Island.

E-Brett Goldilocks and the Three Bears (1987) -- Lost in the woods, a tired and hungry girl finds the house of the three bears where she helps herself to food and goes to sleep.

E-Brett The Hat (1997) -- When Lisa hangs her woolen clothes in the sun to air them out for winter, the hedgehog, to the amusement of the other animals ends up wearing a stocking on his head.

E-Brett Hedgie's Surprise (2000) -- Hedgie the hedgehog helps Henny the speckled hen trick the Tomten who has been eating all of Henny's eggs for breakfast.

E-Brett The Mitten: A Ukrainian Folktale (1989) -- Several animals sleep snugly in Nicki's lost mitten until the bear sneezes.

E-Brett Trouble With Trolls (1992) -- While climbing Mount Baldy, Treva outwits some trolls who want to steal her dog.

E-Brett The Wild Christmas Reindeer (1990) -- After a few false starts, Teeka discovers the best way to get Santa's reindeer ready for Christmas Eve.

J-298.24-BRE Town Mouse, Country Mouse (1994) -- After trading houses, the country mouse and the town mouse discover there is no place like home.

Titles Illustrated by Jan Brett
E-Bunting St. Patrick's Day in the Morning (1980) by Eve Bunting -- Jamie seeks a way to prove he is not too young to march in the big St. Patrick's Day parade.

J-P-JAN Noelle of The Nutcracker (1986) by Pamela Jane -- A magical Christmas tale of two little girls who both dream of owning a beautiful ballerina doll -- but the doll has a dream of her own.

Author Jan Brett's Home Page (http://www.janbrett.com) -- This site provides information about the author and her works. Visitors can find games and activities that can be used in conjunction with the books.

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