A Visit to the Eric Carle Museum – More Than I Imagined

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts is a favorite for any lover of children’s books – because it exhibits the original art illustrations of the books.  One of my first visits was to see the original art of “Madeline”, a book I have read hundreds of times to children.  You can imagine the thrill of seeing the pictures, the real pictures, up close.  Yes, I cried.

Every exhibit is exciting.  Typically they highlight one author or illustrator.  I visited this past weekend.  The exhibit was “Let’s Talk!  Animals From the Collection.”  It wasn’t one artist; it was every animal you know from most of your favorite books, which means your favorite artists as well.  Yes!

This was the wall at the opening to the exhibit.
Do you recognize the animals?

James Marshall and Garth Williams.
“Goldilocks and The Three Bears”

“Winnie the Pooh”
This illustration was delicate.

Of course the original text is in French.

“The Story of Little Babaji”
(aka, Little Black Sambo)
My favorite picture book to read to children.

“Little Fur Family” by Margaret Wise Brown,
illustrated by Garth Williams.  First edition.
We know this inspired the popular “Pat the Bunny.”
I wanted to touch that fur!

“Paddington Bear.”
This was small, bright, and made me
look and smile for a long, long time.

Do you love “Frog and Toad”, too?

If this wasn’t enough – seeing the classic, great illustrations –
there were newer book illustrations.  They’re already in my library.
I’m picky and know good books.
Seeing the art in these magnificent illustrations was breathtaking.

“If You Plant a Seed” by Kadir Nelson

“Hector Fox and the Giant Quest”
by Astrid Sheckles

Mo Willems humor, “Hamilton Pigeon.”

Like every artist and writer, Eric Carle struggled to find just the right words in his books.  In “The Grouchy Ladybug”, you can see Carle’s original ideas on the book – “The Ill Tempered Ladybug” and “The Mean Old Ladybug.”

Children’s Book Week has been a mainstay since 1919.  Here are posters from the 70’s.  The illustrators speak volumes for the importance of this annual celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading.

Yes, That’s me as “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” fan.

Driving home was a perfect ending to a perfect day,
a beautiful full moon (Beaver Moon) low in the sky.

Thank you to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five 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 was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in art, books, children's books, Eric Carle, Expressing words and feelings, Inspiration, museums, picture books, The Arts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

71 Responses to A Visit to the Eric Carle Museum – More Than I Imagined

  1. A fascinating exhibition! I love these older caricatures. They really still have a kind of soul. Thank you for sharing your experiences, Jennie! I am sure you had a wonderful day. The museum sign – as easy made it looks – is artwork by itself. Enjoy your week! MIchael

  2. Opher says:

    You certainly get to some great places Jennie.

  3. Looks like a wonderful exhibit. Thanks to your video, I feel like I saw some of it, too. Happy you had a fun day!

    • Jennie says:

      It was wonderful, Marcia! This exhibit focuses on the art of animals, from their collection. To see so many different artists featured was a treat. I loved James Marshall and William Steig. I loved the original Winnie the Pooh drawings. You would enjoy seeing so many different illustrators. Thank you, Marcia.

  4. quiall says:

    Beautiful illustrations can bring a book to life and spark a long lasting love for books. It did for me.

  5. frenchc1955 says:

    Hi Jennie, This place looks wonderful, and it is on my list of museums to visit! Thank you!

  6. Darlene says:

    What a wonderful place. Lucky you to have it near to you. Goldilocks and the Three Bears was the first story I remember being read to me. Love all the illustrations of all the books.

  7. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Here is a wonderful blogpost from Jennie, the excellent teacher, about an excellent museum!

  8. What a treat to start my day with these illustrations! Seeing them in person must have been thrilling.

  9. so much fun, and seeing the original art work for children’s books is a great art exhibit in itself

  10. Ritu says:

    So wonderful, Jennie!

  11. beetleypete says:

    It’s like they built that museum just for you, Jennie. Better than ‘perfect’.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  12. Lots of good books, and I was happy to see Arnold Lobel there. I LOVE Frog and Toad.

  13. Thank you for taking us along, Jennie.

  14. Elizabeth says:

    I had no idea they were open. I look forward to visiting again. I especially like combining a visit with a trip to Atkins for produce(certainly not candy or baked goods!)

  15. mitchteemley says:

    Love kid’s book illustrations.

  16. Carla says:

    If I ever get to Mass. this museum is definitely on my list. Amazing!

  17. Great books and a wonderful tour of the illustrations.

  18. What a fascinating and fun place! Loved your wings😉 Neat caterpillar mask!! Keep safe. xo

  19. petespringerauthor says:

    I sadly have to admit that I didn’t know of the Eric Carle Museum until now. What an awesome experience it must have been for you, Jennie.

    • Jennie says:

      Every visit to the museum seems better than the one before. For book lovers, this is IT. I wonder if there is another museum that focuses on the art of illustrations. BTW, this was the first time I have seen a Garth Williams. Had it been one from “Charlotte’s Web” I probably would have cried. Thank you, Pete!

  20. Norah says:

    How gorgeous, Jennie. Yes, I would have cried too, with overwhelm. What an amazing museum.

  21. Dan Antion says:

    I really need to visit this museum. It’s easy day-trip for me, and you really cranked up my interest. Thanks Jennie, for sharing your visit.

  22. What a fun exhibition, Jennie. Thanks for sharing all the photos and you look wonderful as a butterfly! ❤

  23. I had no idea that was there. what a wonderful resource for kids. You’re darling in front of the caterpillar!

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