About this Story
I love it when editors propose book ideas, and three years ago my Sterling editor, Meredith Mundy, offered up a great one. Here’s the proposal she sent to my agent, Jennifer Mattson:
Not many kids travel to grandmother’s house in a sleigh pulled by horses these days, but plenty of kids and their families navigate airplanes and trains and buses and clogged highways to gather ‘round the Thanksgiving table with blended families from all over the country. Maybe some arrive by hot air balloon? Parachute? Harley? Plenty of chaos and wackiness could occur prior to the joyful reunion. Might this plot set-up, with the classic song as the underlying structure, be of interest to Linda as a project to tackle?
Might this be of interest? Heck, yeah!
In addition to using widely varying modes of transportation, we all agreed the characters should be a reflection of most families today. That means geographically scattered and diverse in composition—mixed race and same sex couples, with biological and adopted children. And while the families and their hectic travel plans are thoroughly contemporary, I couldn’t resist a nod to tradition: when they run into transportation snafus, they all wind up at Grandma’s courtesy of a horse-drawn sleigh. (NEIGH!)
Illustrator Kim Smith brought her characteristic energy, warmth and humor to the mix, as you can see from the samples below.