It was like meeting a rock star. We pulled into Bozeman and saw her tour bus parked on Main Street in front of Country Bookshelf. Artist and children’s book author, Jan Brett, had come to Montana.
We love Jan Brett’s work. Every winter we read, The Christmas Trolls, The Trouble with Trolls, Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve?, Home for Christmas, and others. We must have 10-15 of her gorgeous books.
There’s something about trolls, Scandinavian winters, and a girl with blond braids on x-country skis that really speaks to me. Tuffi the dog is pretty cute, too. Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve? even has a polar bear.
There were a lot of people for a weekday morning waiting to see a children’s book author. We even had to get (free) tickets for the book signing.
Instead of reading from her latest book, The Turnip, Brett told us about how she meticulously researches each of her books. In the case of The Turnip, she traveled to Russia, visited museums to see traditional clothing, visited the countryside, and watched badger videos. The borders of all her pages are exquisite, and she explained how she was inspired by the woodwork on old Russian buildings.
Then she gave a drawing lesson, so the kids could see how she drew “Badger Girl.” She talked about shapes, knowing certain characteristics of animals, and how to show facial expressions.
We were in the 6th group to get our books signed so we ended up waiting an hour and a half for that. When we were second in line, Finn felt nauseous and had to run to the bathroom before he threw up on Jan Brett. I ran back and forth between the bathroom and Anders, but we got the books signed, a photo with the author, and a few minutes talking with her. She was gracious and warm and had a nice conversation with Anders.
If she comes to your town, it’s definitely worth attending her talk, whether you are a kid or not.