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Brett (The Mitten; Comet's Nine Lives) presents a rather wordy and wandering version of "The Gingerbread Boy./ If you want me,/ Catch me if you can." The cherubic child remains at home while his parents and a smattering of animals lead a cumulative chase through the Swiss countryside, depicted in minutely detailed pictures. Within the artist's characteristically intricate borders, windowlike cutouts shaped like gingerbread cookie cutters reveal Matti's activities at home: he bakes, constructs and decorates an elaborate gingerbread house, which he then places in a clearing in the woods. Well ahead of his pursuers, the fugitive cookie discovers the elaborate structure and happily takes refuge inside. The grand finale allows youngsters to lift a flap shaped like the gingerbread house to uncover its new resident, smiling and winking. Brett's fetching art offsets her rather facile narrative in a book likely to please her faithful fans and holiday gift shoppers. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
With over thirty four million books in print, Jan Brett is one of the nation's foremost author illustrators of children's books. Jan lives in a seacoast town in Massachusetts, close to where she grew up. During the summer her family moves to a home in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts.As a child, Jan Brett decided to be an illustrator and spent many hours reading and drawing. She says, "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." As a student at the Boston Museum School, she spent hours in the Museum of Fine Arts. "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," she says. "I'm delighted and surprised when fragments of these beautiful images come back to me in my painting." Travel is also a constant inspiration. Together with her husband, Joe Hearne, who is a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Jan visits many different countries where she researches the architecture and costumes that appear in her work. "From cave paintings to Norwegian sleighs, to Japanese gardens, I study the traditions of the many countries I visit and use them as a starting point for my children's books."