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.

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