South Knoll Elementary students have put their creativity to the test. They are budding illustrators for a new book inspired by the school's mascot.
However, until Thursday, the College Station students didn't know they were part of a big surprise.
"They kept saying, why are we doing this," South Knoll teacher Betty Munion said. "We said it's a surprise."
Students were asked to draw South Knoll's mascot, a tiger, for a special project.
What they didn't know, is their drawing would help illustrate a book.
"I drew her," Student Alanna Kovar said. "She looked cool and she has this french hat on."
Kovar drew the book's namesake, The Artist.
"My girl is on the cover and in a lot of pictures," Kovar said.
The book tells the story of an artist who is hired to paint a picture of a tiger for a Chinese emperor.
"I wanted to write it and publish it quickly but I also wanted to do something for my school," The book's author Betty Munion said. "I'm in my 29th year here and eventually I will retire. I said I have to do a really big celebration with these kids."
Munion wrote the book with help from the school's art teacher.
"I love when they see their artwork and when they see they've done something so cool," South Knoll Art Teacher and the book's Director of Illustrations Amber Herbelin said. "I love that it's been a secret this whole time, they had no idea what we were doing."
To these students the final project was the best early Christmas gift they could ask for.