Saturday, October 22, 2022

I Went to the Carle!

You may have no clue what my title here means. A couple of weeks ago, I visited a museum that I had been determined to see: The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. It was founded in 2002 in Amherst, MA (less than 2 hours from Boston). It was a dream come true for the beloved artist and his wife Barbara.   

The experience was all I had hoped and then some! I found myself a bit overwhelmed. When you walk in, you are met with 4 huge canvases of Carle's tissue paper collages. I especially enjoyed the video of Carle talking about his passion for picture books and picture book art. The museum's guiding vision is to delight, entertain, and surprise, and educate children, families, teachers, artists, librarians, and scholars - everyone interested in the art of picture books! 
Besides seeing The Hungry Caterpillar and many other Carle creations, you'll find exhibits based on scholarly research about the history of picture books and their art.

Carle died in 2020, so it was nice to hear and see him at work in the video. The other special treat for me was the exhibit on a particular artist whose picture books are unknown by most Americans: Nura Woodson Ulreich, a Parisian artist & writer in the 1920s. Here's a sample:

And I was really happy to see the actual collages of one of my favorite collage artists, Melissa Sweet. To see the 3 dimensional work of such innovative picture book art is a huge treat! 
Above is a sample of Sweet's work for the book Some Writer: The Story of E.B. Wright (the author of Charlotte's Web) which is a beautiful book but not a quick picture book read. 

There are exhibits, classes, places to create, read & play, a fabulous store, and a library full of treasures and picture book experts aka librarians. When I was there, the library had an exhibit called Facing Fears with Picture Books. It featured 35 titles. You can access that book list on the website. 
The photo above shows a sample of play furniture. The photo below shows how the Carle was encouraging children and adults to creatively celebrate the 20th birthday of the museum.

I hope you will go if you are in the area, whether or not you have children with you. Certainly, it is designed with children in mind, but the Carle has much to offer adults. It is, after all, an art museum, a history museum, and a celebration of the legacy of a picture book author whose work has and still does delight most American adults.  

For details and visuals, and to see if there is a particular exhibit or featured artist that you want to experience, HERE is the Carle's website. 

There are many PBT books by Eric Carle. To find them, simply type "Carle" in the search box in the upper right corner if in the "web version."

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