Hedgie (Submitted photo)
Hedgie (Submitted photo)
Vesterheim, the national Norwegian-American museum and heritage center, invites everyone to experience "The World of Jan Brett," on view Oct. 14-Jan. 5, 2014.

This fun and engaging traveling exhibition brings to life the stories of the beloved children's author/illustrator. Original artwork, interactive adventure areas and themed reading environments invite visitors to travel the globe and become a part of their favorite books.

The exhibition welcomes all ages into the vivid cultures and endless imagination of these timeless children's tales.

"When you look at my illustrations I hope they take you to a different place and time," Brett said. "Every illustration has a dozen stories behind the brushstrokes."

"The World of Jan Brett" encourages playful exploration in hands-on discovery areas and immersive environments. The exhibition features more than 50 original paintings from ten of Jan Brett's bestselling books, including "Gingerbread Friends," "The Umbrella" and "Honey ... Honey ... Lion!"

There is even a super-size Hedgie, a hedgehog that is featured in the pages of many of Jan Brett's best-loved stories.

Vesterheim has planned a series of special events for the exhibition that include:

• Hedgie's Halloween, Thursday, Oct. 31, 5-7 p.m. Stop by Vesterheim for spooktacular fun before or during trick or treating on Halloween. Wear your costume and get a sweet treat-something to eat and a 50 percent off admission coupon to visit the museum and The World of Jan Brett exhibit. Museum admission fees apply to visiting the exhibition during this event.

• Free First Thursday "Bonus Barnetimen," Nov. 7, 10-11 a.m. A ski-themed children's hour for preschoolers and their caregivers featuring Jan Brett's "Trouble with Trolls." Free.

• Hedgie's Pajama Party. Friday, Nov. 22, 6:30-8 p.m. Put on your pajamas, grab your favorite stuffed animal and come for stories and a bedtime snack. Free.

• Hedgie Tales.Saturday, Nov. 23, 10 a.m.-noon. Drop by the exhibition for a story or two and take some Hedgie Hunt cards to seek out special objects "hidden" around the museum. Museum admission fees apply. Museum members always receive free admission.

• Jan Brett's Gingerbread Friends and Their Gingerbread House, Sunday, Dec. 15, 1-4 p.m. A class with instructors Lea Lovelace and Darlene Fossum-Martin. Bring your family to explore Jan Brett's beloved "Gingerbread Baby" and "Gingerbread Friends," as we spend an afternoon together, reading, looking, making and baking. $15 per family for members/$20 per family for non-members, plus a $13 materials fee.

• Hedgie's Pajama Party. Dec. 27, 6:30-8 p.m. Put on your pajamas, grab your favorite stuffed animal and come for stories and a bedtime snack. Free.

• Jan Brett Blowout. Jan. 2, 2014, 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Come explore the exhibit and the museum with a scavenger hunt, make a craft, listen to a story and enjoy a treat. Free.

In addition, Jan Brett will be making a special stop in Decorah Sunday, Nov. 10, during the tour for her latest book, "Cinders." This presentation and book signing is 10 a.m.-noon in the Decorah High School auditorium.

The event is free, but advanced tickets from Vesterheim are required. More information on how to obtain tickets will be available soon at vesterheim.org.

School groups are welcome and Vesterheim has a list of possibilities for special activities. For information about the exhibition, special programs, group tours, and Jan Brett's visit, check vesterheim.org, or call 563-382-9681.

"The World of Jan Brett" is on a nationwide tour and its display at Vesterheim is made possible through funds raised by the 2012 Deck The Tables committee and event. This traveling exhibition is organized by the Oshkosh Public Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in partnership with Jan Brett.