When I was in grade school, I was fascinated with the exotic and fantastical. My grandmother indulged me with beautifully illustrated books of fairy tales and Scandinavian themed books like the Flicka, Ricka and Dicka series by Maj Lindman.
Jan Brett’s books remind me of the ones that entertained me as a child. She illustrates old classics like The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore . She finds several places to add pugs in her illustrations. That is well appreciated in my family.
A page from The Night Before Christmas (sans pugs):
She illustrates nursery tales like Goldilocks and the Three Bears:
And folk tales like the Ukrainian one retold in The Mitten:
And classic fairy tales like The Beauty and the Beast:
Jan Brett also writes and illustrates her own stories. Most of Yulupa’s first grade teachers read The Gingerbread Baby and Gingerbread Friends to their classes in December. Some classes made edible gingerbread houses and others used different materials to make the Gingerbread Baby a house.
In Mrs. Hopkins' class, December is Jan Brett month. At the Pen Pals and Picture Books blog, January is Jan Brett month. They will be featuring their favorite Jan Brett books all month. According to the two bloggers at Pen Pals and Picture books, there is a hedgehog in every Jan Brett book. I can’t swear to that but I have seen plenty of hedgehogs. A couple of my grandchildren are very interested in animals, especially dogs. Jan Brett wrote a book called The First Dog about an Ice Age boy who befriends a wolf who saves his life. In another of her books, Comet’s Nine Lives, Comet leaves the lighthouse on Nantucket Island. He visits a garden, a bookstore, a boat and a party but what he really wants is a home.
In her books, Jan Brett takes children to visit the North Pole, Bavaria, Africa, Scandinavia, the Ice Age and Nantucket Island. Her subjects range from Christmas stories to animal tales to fairy and folk tales and even to trolls (very Scandinavian). Her richly detailed and beautifully illustrated books can take your child on many adventures. Her books are suitable for preschool-third grade.