Maybe it's the snow.
But it can't be the snow. Because, really there's never a time when we, the dwellers in this little downstairs house don't feel the need to surround ourselves with books. Illustrated books in particular.
But there has definitely been an increase in snuggle-storytime-cat-nap sessions lately...
It must be the snow.
And I find we come back to the illustrators we love again and again: M.Sarah Klise, Maurice Sendak, Holly Hobbie and Lillian Hobban... and always, always, always...Jan Brett.
The Mitten, The Hat, Trouble with Trolls...
...Annie and The Wild Animals, and my faaavorite:
And last Friday night, thanks to my lovely friend Liesel (amazing aspiring illustrator herself), without whom I never would have even heard about the event, the kids and I got to meet her. Not Liesel...well, I mean Liesel was there...but Jan Brett. We got to meet Jan Brett, who was here in Missoula on her Home For Christmas 2011 tour.
Look at us!
As always seems to be the case with me when I meet celebrity-type figures whom I admire (ahem, the Alison Krauss incident of '02), I stood there with nothing more intelligent to say than "We are such big fans," and every question I ever wanted to ask her stuck in the back of my throat. Which, I suppose, was not a bad thing for the hundred or so people standing in line behind us, waiting to get their books signed and very politely not rolling their eyes or groaning while the kids and I took more than our fair share of Ms. Brett's time with our little photo session.
So rather than pepper her with questions like "When did you discover your artistic voice?" or "What made you decide to write and illustrate rather than work with other authors?" or "Why a hedgehog?" I opted to get our signature, mumble my insipid, generic compliment, and then stand off to the side ogling and taking pictures like a mom-blogger-paparazzi.
And then head outside with Liesel and her kids to grab a shot of the whole crew in front of the Jan Brett tour bus.
Yup, those are signed posters in the kids' hands and Jan Brett buttons on their shirt fronts. We're our own little fan club. And our little club thanks you for stopping in Missoula, Ms. Brett. And for the beautiful, snowy day, snuggle-up stories you've given to us all.