Few museums give patrons an up-close, personal experience. The Eric Carle Museum in Massachusetts is a master at doing just that. Their three rotating exhibits are grounded in the best art of illustrators, and patrons can be inches away from their favorite books. I have seen brush strokes, pencil outlines, thick paint, and even linoleum from the art of my favorite children’s books.
There’s more. Artists visit and give readings and presentations. This week Astrid Sheckels, author of the popular Hector Fox books, was at the museum with her latest book. I was there!
Hector Fox and his friends (all animals native to New England- including a marten) have adventures. The illustrations are glorious, detailed, and draw the reader in. The text is exciting, with challenging words that keep the reader hooked. For example, Hector’s first book is the Giant Quest. Yes, ‘quest’, just the word I want my preschoolers to learn.
Astrid Sheckels had a wonderful presentation and reading of her new book, and she drew Hector Fox with the audience.
One of her illustrations is a new museum acquisition. It is magnificent! There’s nothing like the ‘real deal’.
Of course I had to see the other exhibits. One was an illustrator, Christian Robinson. I recognized his art right away. And then…there it was. Gaston!
YES! It’s the story of puppies in two very different families. There’s a mix up, an exchange, and dog families who learn that being different is okay. My preschoolers love this book. I do, too.
Okay, I was out of control, yelling at my fellow teacher to look at the brush strokes. “Naomi, this is IT, the real art, and we can see every brush stroke!”
For art lovers, seeing a beloved masterpiece is thrilling. For book lovers who have seen that art hundreds of times reading the book to children, the experience of seeing the original art is tenfold.
Thank you to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art for bringing the art of illustrators for all of us to see.
Gorgeous artwork, Jennie. What an experience. Picture books are a gallery of artworks you can hold in your hands but, as you say, nothing beats the real thing up close.
Yes! Well said, Norah.
what a wonderful experience and how lucky – her book is beautiful and I can understand your excitement
It is, and it was! 😀
You are so lucky to have this on your doorstep 🥰
I really am lucky! I wonder if there are other museums dedicated to picture book art.
How wonderful to have met Astrid Sheckels. I love the Hector Fox puppet too. You are fortunate to have this museum near you. The excitement came through the blog post!
I feel very lucky, Darlene. Astrid is such a great person, she made the Hector Fox puppet! I’m glad my enthusiasm came through.😀
Excellent. Nicely penned with beautiful photos.
The Hector Fox artwork is indeed beautiful. Thank you, yet again, for sharing your enthusiasm and delight and wisdom with the rest of us!!!
Thank you, Will. The art is beautiful, and I’m glad you enjoyed my enthusiasm.😀
This sounds like such a wonderful museum. I’ve enjoyed all of your posts about it.
It is a wonderful museum. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed my posts of my visits. Thank you, Alethea.
Thank you for this post, Jennie, in all its glory. I need to visit this museum.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Dan. Yes, you need to visit. I’d be happy to meet you there. 🙂
The art work looks wonderful. I can feel your excitement about the art, books, and museum pumping out of this post! 💗
Thank you, Deborah! The art is really wonderful, and I’m glad you could feel my excitement. 😀
You are lucky to have this experience . Thank you for sharing.
I really, really am! Thank you!
Her illustrations are wonderful, and being able to watch her in action was a rare treat indeed.
Best wishes, Pete.
Yes, and yes! Lucky me. Best to you, Pete.
What a fine attraction. And the artwork in Hector Fox is beyond belief! She sure does not play down to her young readers.
That is a museum that one can really get excited about.
Will that Hector Fox you are holding join Gloria back at school?
Hi Don, yes the artwork is incredible. My photos can’t capture their full quality. Good writers use ‘big words’ for young children, not big long sentences, big words. It’s such an exciting museum. Oh, I dearly wish that Hector Fox puppet could join Gloria, but it belongs to the author. She made it herself!
Made it herself! What can;t that girl do?
A great experience!
Very much so!
Super fun, Jennie. You’re so lucky to be close enough to the museum to take advantage of all it has to offer. Thanks for sharing the illustrations of Hector. They’re beautiful. ❤
Thanks, Diana. It was definitely super fun, and I’m lucky to be close enough. Hector’s illustrations are remarkable, all in watercolor.
They’re stunning, Jennie. The illustrations are what I enjoy most about kid’s books. 🙂
Me, too! 😀
I have to agree, Jennie. I have an original oil painting that was used as a cover for Boys Life magazine. I bought it directly from the artist many moons ago and love it.
Yes! You know the excitement of real art from something you loved as a kid. Is yours by Norman Rockwell? I would give my left arm for one of his paintings. If you bought it directly from the artist, I’m guessing no, but that doesn’t matter- it’s the real deal from Boys Life. Thanks for telling me, John.
His name is Shannon Stirnweis.
John! I just looked him up on Google. Wow. What an artist, with history and Americana. The Post cover with the soldier and baby booties made me smile. You are one lucky guy to have one of his paintings!
I feel lucky, Jennie. I bought it in 1983. We were neighbors in Connecticut.
You were lucky! How wonderful, John. This makes my day. 🙂
It is titled, “Cold Night Out” and depicts a native American brave trying to stay warm. I have enjoyed it all these years and just gifted it to my daughter.
It sounds wonderful, and I like his art. No wonder you have treasured it, and what a special gift for your daughter!
Museums play an important part in our lives. Interactive ones, even more so.
Yes, and very much yes.
Fabulous! I’m jealous!
Thank you, Opher. If the tables were turned, I’d be jealous, too.
Sounds like a wonderful museum, and it is so neat they not only display art, but bring the art “to life” on-site.
It really is, Bruce. The bringing art to life is huge. And, I didn’t even talk about the drop-in art studio, the library, or the bookstore. It’s a big wow.
I love the photos here and the joy
I loved eric carle when I taught art and I think it was grade three when stduents made collages from cut ups of paitnted paper and we used Carle’s books for ideas
the museum looks amazing and the book is great
I’m so glad you enjoyed this. Third graders can really appreciate and replicate Eric Carle art. Every child is an artist (Picasso), right? Thank you, Prior.
As you know one of my favorite places. Being next door to the sweets at Atkins doesn’t hurt either!
Yes! And of course every visit is followed by a trip to Atkins. Cider donuts are a must, and spinach lasagne for dinner.
Ooh. I never got past the bakery. I must check out the dinner options next time.
I hope you do!
Haha! Nice to see that you haven’t lost any of your enthusiasm, Jennie. What a great opportunity to meet Astrid!
Thanks, Pete. You know me well. It was fabulous!
Oh Jennie… what a delight to meet and greet this author and see all of these wonderful art exhibits… What a wonderful post… Love it xx ❤
Thank you, Sue. It was delightful! I feel very lucky, indeed.😍
It was a delight to read. ❤
Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
Please enjoy this wonderful post from the excellent teacher, Jennie!
Thank you, Charles!
I would love to visit and see the artworks, Jennie. Thanks for sharing your experience.
If you ever get ‘across the big pond’ to New England, I would be thrilled, and we would have the best day ever at the museum. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and artworks, Robbie.
Reblogged this on https:/BOOKS.ESLARN-NET.DE.
Thank you, Michael!
So wonderful! I hope you will not become one of the assets of the museum, Jennie! Lol They will need you in Groton, as long as possible. xx Michael
Thank you, Michael. I will not become one of the assets of the museum, I still have so much teaching to do in Groton. 😀