Janet Pedersen

Janet Pedersen

Janet Pedersen, a former children's book designer who now writes and illustrates her own stories, says that much of her work is based on childhood memories. "When I was growing up," she explains, "my family and I spent our summers in Tehachapi, California, where we lived and worked on our ranch. I took care of pigs, chickens, and a baby calf I named Lucy." These experiences proved to be a wellspring of ideas for the resourceful author-illustrator, who infuses her stories about animals with a compelling authenticity and simplicity.

Janet Pedersen's first book with Candlewick Press, MILLIE IN THE MEADOW, drew its inspiration from these recollections of the ranch. It is the story of a young calf named Millie who watches an artist paint each of her animal friends, and with every new canvas wonders if it might be her turn to be the artist's subject. This charming tale began as a bedtime story for the author's son, but amazingly, the story's original star was not Millie the calf, but Millie the moth! Later, Janet Pedersen came to envision the heroine as her childhood companion, Lucy the calf. She says, "Lucy was just as knobby-kneed and long-lashed as Millie, and she swished her tail just as often! I like to think Lucy was as happy as Millie, playing in the tall grass with her many colorful friends."

MILLIE IN THE MEADOW quickly won admirers for both its easy appeal and its value in teaching key concepts to little ones. "This unprepossessing tale of a cow with a toddler attitude teaches animal attributes as it goes along," says PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. Adds KIRKUS REVIEWS, "Young readers will enjoy guessing the animals from the descriptions. Pedersen's very childlike watercolors . . . personify Millie's curiosity and actions like a preschool child caught up in her own world. . . . Picture perfect."

With her second Millie book, MILLIE WANTS TO PLAY!, Janet Pedersen again capitalizes on personal experience--this time from motherhood rather than childhood. "I was inspired to write this story while I was watching my son try to contain his excitement," explains the author-illustrator. "Waiting for a treat, a holiday, a play date, or even for his groggy mom and dad to finally wake up can be very difficult to do! That burst of energy and sheer delight--when the moment finally arrives--is what I wanted to portray in MILLIE WANTS TO PLAY!"

Janet Pedersen currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son.

Books by Janet Pedersen