Friday, November 13, 2009

Jan Brett Appearance

As I've recently discussed, my wife is a bit nutters over Jan Brett. And rightfully so since Brett is an amazing storyteller and illustrator. So when my wife finally made it to the head of the line to get her book signed, I am quite sure she was pleased to hear that word had spread that a crazy fan with a hedgehog tattoo would be appearing.

Yes, my wife has a tattoo of a hedgehog on her leg. Yes, that's how much she loves hedgehogs. Yes, I still love her.

What where the events that led up to this wondrous occasion? Keep reading for the high and low points of the book signing.

First, we had an appointment with a financial planner. No, not because it cost us that much to get a book signed.

From there, we moved on to one of my favorite restaurants, Old Town Grill & Cafe. Dan cooked up a nice dinner so we had plenty of fuel for our adventure.

We stopped in the local toy store (next to Jabberwocky) and did some browsing. Nothing too interesting, but I'm always amazed that they sell Smurf toys. It's like being a kid again!

Then, the real adventure began. The Jan Brett Tour Bus arrived outside, so we promptly snapped some photos.

And of course, they began hauling in decorations and signage and speakers for the event. And of course, the crowd began to grow. In fact, by 4:30 pm, there were at least fifty people in line. And it grew quite large. And hot. And antsy.

Fortunately, that's when Brett arrived to entertain the crowd. She handed out five free books to local libraries (it's unknown if they were school, local, or both) then began to chat and draw.

Here's her husband Joe, an accomplished musician, who often travels with her (and was kind enough to respond to an email years ago and send us a signed poster).

It was amazing to watch her sketch out a bear. Watching her first few lines I couldn't imagine how it would become anything other than gibberish. Turns out it was a cute little bear, hedgehog, and mouse. Amazing.

Jabberwocky also handed out some swag, like this button:

After the demonstration and chat, they dismissed everyone with a ticket number over 150 (which included us). They eventually began calling people in moving through higher numbers. Here's the line as we were about ten people from the front.

And the final moment of bliss.

Now, after this long adventure, there were some areas of improvement that I'd love to see Jabberwocky work on. Namely, they need a bouncer. There were a few upset customers there complaining about being turned away from getting all of their books signed. You see, these people brought their own books to be signed. And that's great. But you're taking time away from those people that bought books from the store.

That's where the bouncer would come in. They need somebody that's a bit mean looking, preferably an ugly man (like me) to stand there and look cross at everyone approaching the author. The bouncer would help direct the flow of fans as well as clarify that only those books bought at the store would be signed first and additional books (i.e. personal books) would be signed at the end. The bouncer would also get some fans upstairs to circulate the air because, wow, it was hot and stuffy.

That was my biggest gripe. Griping fans. I know authors want to make everyone happy, but the fans need to realize that authors are people too. And bookstores need to realize that with big talent like this there needs to be a bit more planning and a lot more stern gazing.

So there you have it. Library Dad and his lovely, though slightly crazy, wife made it to the signing and in the end, everything worked out great.


gfe--gluten free easily said...

Ah, fellow book lovers, and fellow children's book lovers, and in King George, too--how very cool! Thanks so much for following me on Twitter. :-) I've always loved Jan Brett's books ... from way back when I was teaching. I know I have at least one of her books in my collection of children's Christmas books. I'm sorry I didn't make it to the book signing. She is an amazing artist. (I love her use of color.) I know what you mean about the bouncer, though. I've been to numerous book signings at Jabberwocky and you really have to be patient and understanding. Glad it all worked out for you. I enjoyed the photos and your post!


TK42ONE said...

Shirley - Yes, we love books. A lot. Jabberwocky did a good job, just wish they had some more crowd control. But they're so nice, it's hard to picture them being mean enough to turn people away.

And yes, we're in KG. Found you on Twitter via your blog which I found via The Journal (or maybe the FLS, not sure now). Either way, thanks for stopping by!