An initial sign up of 17 participants yielded a group of 11 who braved the cold weather (and a November snow, not to mention the Ohio State vs. Michigan game) to attend the Jan Brett program held November 23, 2002 in the Community Room of the Bucyrus Public Library. As they arrived, each participant received a nametag in the shape of a gingerbread man. These were done with an Ellison die with brown construction paper.
Children’s Librarian Barb Scott opened the program by talking with participants about which Jan Brett book was their favorite. Many mentioned The Mitten. After that, she shared Jan Brett’s newest book, Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve? This story of Kyri and the trolls who raid her house every Christmas Eve had everyone laughing.
She also shared a Powerpoint presentation of selected Jan Brett titles, which also included a brief biography of the author. The participants were familiar with many of the books mentioned.
Participants were then invited to make-and-take six different crafts based on Jan Brett books. These crafts were:
1. "Buzzer the Bee" Puppet–This craft was adapted from a"Buzzer" bookmark that appeared in CopyCat magazine. The bee pattern was glued onto a chenille stem.
2. Gingerbread Baby Refrigerator Magnet–These "Gingerbread Babies" were done with pre-made craft foam gingerbread man kits purchased from Oriental Trading Company. Instead of making them as ornaments, small pieces of adhesive backed magnet were added to make them adhere to a metal surface.
3. Christmas Tree Cone–This craft was taken from Jan Brett’s website, The pattern was printed out on a color printer and participants assembled it by forming it into a cone that was then taped together. Ribbon was stapled on as a hanger and then candy was available to fill the cones with. These cones could then be taken home and hung on the Christmas tree!
4. County Mouse Bookmark–The pattern for this bookmark is just one of the ones that appears on Jan Brett’s site. Participants colored in the bookmark which was later laminated.
5. Make Your Own Story of The Mitten–This pattern was also printed from the Jan Brett site. Each participant received two sides of a mitten pattern which were cut out, paper punched, and then sewn together with yarn. Small patterns of each of the animals in the story were provided to color, cut out, and place inside the mitten.
6. Design Your Own Hat!–A pattern from Jan Brett’s site invited participants to make a hat of their own creation! The pattern was provided as well as pom poms, foam stars, markers, and crayons. Each participant designed their own hat which was then handed in and will become part of a display along with pictures from the day’s event.
Then it was time for refreshments! Participants enjoyed fudge-striped cookies, pretzels, and punch. The refreshment table itself was decorated with a large gingerbread man soft sculpture (a find on eBay!), as well as a couple of Jan Brett books and other items that would remind readers of her stories, such as a single mitten. A basket filled with cinnamon scented pine cones gave the room a wonderful smell!
Before they left, each participant received a bag of candy, a gingerbread man pencil, and two sheets of gingerbread man stickers. The pencils and stickers were purchased from Oriental Trading Company.
For the small turnout, I think everyone had a great time! The crafts seemed to take longer (probably at least a whole hour for most), as some of them were more involved (sewing the mitten, assembling the foam gingerbread man for the magnet, deciding on a design for the hat that was handed in). Parents who arrived early ended up waiting on their children to finish. There was also a nice age range for the event, ranging from around five to middle school age.