Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Eric Carle Museum

In early August several colleagues and I took a road trip to Amherst, Massachusetts, to visit the one and only Eric Carle Museum, and what a delightful visit that was! It was truly a feast for the eyes!

As quoted from their website: "Founded in part by Eric Carle, the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is the first full-scale museum in this country devoted to national and international picture book art, conceived and built with the aim of celebrating the art that we are first exposed to as children. Through the exploration of images that are familiar and beloved, it is the Museum’s goal to provide an enriching, dynamic, and supportive context for the development of literacy and to foster in visitors of all ages and backgrounds the confidence to appreciate and enjoy art of every kind."

Of course the Eric Carle Museum has an official Volkswagen Beetle!  What else could it logically be?

The Museum was founded in 2002 by Eric and Barbara Carle.  Not only are there three art galleries, but a wonderful, light-filled art studio for children, a picture book library, theater, cafeteria and book store.  

Ground-breaking ceremony
Model of the Museum
Huge canvases of Eric Carle's paintings line the main hallway.

 The bathrooms are no less impressive!  Notice the decorative tiles on the bathroom walls?

Look closer!

Recognize these animals?

I see a blue horse looking at me...

Okay, is this Gerald of Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggie series?

Pigeon and I have a lot in common!

Incidentally, there is an exhibit of Mo Willems' work at the Carle. Titled "Seriously Silly: A Decade of Art and Whimsy by Mo Willems," it runs from June 22, 2013 - February 23, 2014. 

      In addition to all the wonderful pieces of Willems' original art on display are a few of his spreadsheets that he creates to keep track of the many processes his books go through before completion.  Each book has its own chart which, by the end, has become a busy mosaic of colored-in squares giving testimony to the many stages involved in producing each of his books! I had never seen anything like it, giving me a fresh appreciation for all the work that goes into creating a picture book.

 It's truly amazing to think this picture book was first published in 1969.  It is timeless, yet is now 44 years old.

Living in Vermont puts us in close proximity to this incredible kid-friendly museum.  It is well worth the visit.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Day We've Been Waiting For ...

We had read many of April Pulley Sayre's 60+ books and the day we have waited for, the day of her visit to our school, finally arrived!  We were ready for her!

In preparation for April's visit, all the children in the school signed their names to four paper sea turtles which were used to welcome our special guest and lead her to the Learning Center.

Her visit was amazing!  She enthralled the children with her stories, sharing fascinating information about the many animals she has studied around the world. 

And April proved to us how much she loves words by getting us chanting with her.  "Billbug, Bed Bug, Bark Beetle, Bee. Painted Lady Butterfly. Flea, Flea, Flea!" Check out April's chant books, such as Ant, Ant, Ant! (An Insect Chant), or Trout, Trout, Trout!: A Fish Chant, or Go, Go, Grapes! A Fruit Chant.  They are tons of fun to read out loud!  She can find fun rhymes and rhythms everywhere.

The children learned how slowly sloths move by doing the motions with April, and listened to recordings of howler monkeys from her visits to Central America.

They lapped up her wisdom about believing in yourself, and keeping on trying even when other kids seem better at something than you are.
April Pulley Sayre, author, with Grace Greene, Youth Services Consultant with the Vermont Department of Libraries.  Two amazing and talented women!

April with a couple of fans.

Carol and April, their birthdays one day apart!

April talks with some eager 
 aspiring authors after her presentation

 Thank you, April, for coming all the way from Indiana to visit our school!

Visit April Pulley Sayre at 
to read more about this wonderful author and all the books she has published.  The Essex Elementary School Library has many of her titles available to borrow.  Touch a Butterfly: Wildlife Gardening with Kids was just published in April of 2013, and later this year follow Let's Go Nuts! Seeds We Eat, and Eat Like a Bear!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Award-winning Author to visit EES

April Pulley Sayre

will visit us from

Indiana on

February 4th, 2013.


April Pulley Sayre is an award-winning children’s book author of over 55 natural history books for children and adults. Her read-aloud nonfiction books, known for their lyricism and scientific precision, have been translated into French, Dutch, Japanese, and Korean. She is best known for pioneering literary ways to immerse young readers in natural events via creative storytelling and unusual perspectives.

Read more about her books and experiences on her own website

The whole school has been busy preparing for her visit by reading her books and studying her style.  Last week we read Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out! which the children really enjoyed;  they had great questions and observations about natural cycles and parenting styles.  

A letter went home to families at the end of last week with an order form to purchase select titles.  The form is also downloadable on the Learning Center website.

The EES Book Fair

We had a very successful Book Fair, thanks to the support of our amazing families, teachers and staff,  and fabulous parent volunteers.  Thank you!  Thank you!

Children came in with their class to browse the Book Fair.

Reading Challenge in progress

     We raised 15, 544 pennies thanks to our super readers and donations from generous families.  We were able to purchase $156 dollars worth of children's books to give to the children living at COTS (Committee on Temporary Shelter).
     How proud I am that our children worked towards this goal so that they could help other children.  Children helping children is a beautiful thing!

Clifford dropped by for a visit.

Face Painting with Mrs. Pariseau and Mrs. Coggeshall:


A couple of our Reading Heroes!

Making popsicle stick puppets...

Tasty Treats with Mrs. McNeish!
Scratch-Art bookmarks

Make your own pennants

Our Guessing Jar.  The contestant with the closest estimate won $10 at the Book Fair.

The funds raised at the Book Fair will be used to purchase print books and digital resources, as well as support our Author event in February when April Pulley Sayre visits us.

Another one of our Super Readers!

Clifford takes a break... it's a tough job!

 Clifford thanks Mr. Allen for all his good work in our school!

Thank you all for a great book fair!