While working as a commercial artist in New York City, my father ventured into the world of writing and illustrating children’s books. In addition to his being in great demand for advertising art, his charming illustrations led magazines and authors alike to seek him out for special projects.
One of our family favorites is the group of drawings that Jan did for Good Housekeeping’s 1956 holiday children’s poem, “The Year Without A Santa Claus” by Phyllis McGinley. This six-page Christmas gem is sprinkled throughout with Jan’s depictions of children-heroes, winter scenes, and of course, lots of the kinds of presents that make the holidays so magical for little kids.
From his small black and white sketches of letters to Santa, to page-high columns of two-color characters, to the full-color, crowning image of a weary Santa being observed by concerned elves and reindeer, Jan captures the essence of the poem, convincing us that he understands both Santa and the children who love him.
In keeping with Jan’s wonder-filled spirit, the Balet family wishes you the happiest of holidays.
Peter and Marie Balet