Twists and Turns at Museums, Books and Art

A trip to a museum is much like climbing into a great book with a storyline of unexpected twists and turns.  Yesterday was no exception.  I visited the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts.  It has the best bookstore I have ever been in, and I am really picky when it comes to books.  My husband actually told me one day that I was a book snob.  Ouch!  “I’m just picky because I know a good book when I read one” I told him. And, so many children’s books that I read are…well, let’s just say they’re ok.  Few have the power to make my heart race or put a lump in my throat.  So many of the books at the Eric Carle Museum do just that.

Before I went into the bookstore I checked out their current exhibit.  It was the illustrations of Fred Marcellino.  I admired his artwork of Puss in Boots.  Then I turned a corner and was face-to-face with the original artwork of The Story of Little Babaji.  I was thunderstruck.  This is one of the best books, ever; one that I have read over and over again, one that the children beg for and help chant the words.  I do play performances about this book for families.

And there I was, two inches away from the tigers running around the tree and Mamaji making pancakes.  Unexpected twists and turns at a museum, indeed.  Oh, there was more.  The museum displayed recent acquisitions, one of which was Paul O Zelinsky’s painting of Rapunzel, the final page of the book with Rapunzel and her family.  Wow!  Here was another great children’s book that I read, displaying the original art.  There’s nothing better than the real thing, seeing something that you have only known and enjoyed in pictures.  Museums do that.

After that heart stopping experience, I finally got to the bookstore.  Their collection of children’s books, chapter reading books and YA books is impressive.  Two hours of reading and exploring books hardly encompassed all I wanted to read.  The three books I had to buy were Take Away the A by Michael Escoffier, The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc, and My Grandfather’s Coat retold by Jim Aylesworth.

Pleasure reading can be full of learning.  The best part is that learning is a pleasure within a good book.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
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5 Responses to Twists and Turns at Museums, Books and Art

  1. frenchc1955 says:

    This is a wonderful post. I have been enjoying going through your past posts and reading them. You could write a very valuable book on teaching. Have you considered it?

    • jlfatgcs says:

      Charles, I have been meaning to thank you for frequently reading my old blog posts. Thank you! Often I pause to remember exactly which one it was, and sometimes I read the post again. It is wonderful! I enjoy reading it again as much as I enjoyed writing it a while ago. So, it’s actually a double thank you. Have I ever considered writing a book? Definitely yes. I have always thought that bundling my newsletters to families would make a good book, to parents and teachers. That thought was why I started my blog. Well, I have hardly scratched the surface of my newsletters. I keep writing new things. If I find an agent, then I’ll be moving forward. Not that I have looked, but it seems that’s the place to start when the writing is well underway (like my blog). Also, I have the children’s book to finish writing, and I want to rewrite a few fairy tales. Whew! Your words of encouragement mean the world to me. Thank you.

    • jlfatgcs says:

      I just read this post again. If I could rewrite it, it would be twice as long. So much to say… Again, thank you.

  2. frenchc1955 says:

    You are very welcome. I also wondered if you have seen To Sir With Love and are familiar with the museum sequence.

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