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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

Anyone who has loved The Very Hungry Caterpillar or the illlustrations in Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? will consider a stop at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art to be a destination to be coveted.  The exhibits always showcase the work of Eric Carle, as well as, showcasing many other picture book illustrators.  They are also the sponsor of many workshops.  A recent one with Susan Bloom was billed as: "...highly popular annual event! In anticipation of the 2012 Caldecott Medal awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children for the preceding year, Susan Bloom selects her favorites. Learn from this outstanding professor of Children’s Literature and reviewer for the Horn Book what makes these books rise above the rest."
Jennifer Buliszak was fortunate enough to be able to register and attend the workshop.  She says,
"It was such fun to sit in the auditorium and listen to her [Bloom's] thought-provoking and eloquent booktalks (for an hour and a half) on all these fantastic new picturebooks that I was unfamiliar with previously. There was a rich discussion about the Caldecott criteria afterward.  
The museum is such an amazing place. When I purchased my admission ticket at the front desk, the clerk cheerfully asked me which picture book I was rooting for for the 2013 Caldecott award as she was polling all the visitors that morning. I voted for Extra Yarn and she said that she has heard many votes for that title in particular."
I'm sort of with Jennifer on this one -- Extra Yarn is an amazing book and a lot of fun to read and share.  This book was profiled at along with comments by Michelle Edwards. You can access a PDF copy of Bloom's list of The Best of the Best in 2012 on the Eric Carle Museum's site.

With permission from the museum staff, Jennifer took some pictures of the exterior areas of the museum and the bookstore.  Here are her pictures with some comments from me -- a lot of ideas emerge from seeing these photos.
The exterior of the building provides a clue as to the white crispness
that we will see on the interior.  A wonderful backdrop for the brilliant
colors of Eric Carle's art.

What could be more fun than this wonderful Caterpillar Bug
that serves as an official vehicle for the museum?  Makes me
want to purchase a "bug" for myself.

The long expansive hall -- all white with brilliant splashes of color is an indication of the vibrant colors showcased throughout the museum. The mobiles hanging from the ceiling seem to feature other illustrators.  The one most immediately in the foreground (top left) appears to be a character from either a Richard Scarry book or perhaps an illustration by Wendy Watson.  Or maybe just a Red Fox from one of Carle's books -- a fox reading a book.  I'd have to have a closer look.  However, the stye of the mobile is interesting.  Might be an interesting (and simple) type of mobile for young readers to make.

At the front of this activity area the butterfly from The Very Hungry
emerges in all of its brilliance.  Picture this on a wall of a
child's nursery/playroom.

A wonderful idea to create unique and original papers for collages by utilizing some
of the techniques used by Eric Carle.  Begin with archival tissue paper and paint
designs to create textured and unique papers.  Eric Carle shares his technique on his
website -- his slideshow of how he creates the papers is very instructive.  One creative
mother used the concept to allow her children to create tissue paper and collages.  Take
a look at The Imagination Tree: Eric Carle Tissue Paper Prints (blog entry).  Using this art
to make some initial pictures can provide some lovely art for a child's room.

Makes me stop and think what other hands on activities might
be incorporated into an evening of literacy activities for a community
event celebrating an author or books.  One educator I know held an
entire chocolate day - books for all ages.  Parents came in to teach how
to make fudge, chocolate truffles, and so forth.  Perhaps a little art
making spider webs on paper, with straws (to blow the paint) and
watercolors.  What else would fit here?

The next four pictures show the book store at the museum.  Look
around - see the wonderful Wild Thing topper on the bookshelf,
the art work on the walls -- books facing out to showcase the
wonderful art.  Does your child have a library in your house?
How important are books in your home?

Note the book on the table - Eric Carle's 2012 book - The Artist Who Painted Blue a Blue HorseThe Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, is an homage to the Expressionist painter Franz Marc. In WW11 Germany, Carle's high school teacher Herr Krauss introduced him to abstract and Expressionist art during a time when works such as these had been banned by German officials.  Learn more about the title on Carle's website and view a video about the book on my YouTube channel: McElmeel101.  The animal carpet in the background can be purchased from - search for Eric Carle.  A search of the Internet for Eric Carle fabric will yield some choices that will make some delightful curtains, pillows, quilts and so forth.  I am particularly fond of which has a lot of Eric Carle fabric but also offers free patterns for several Carle themed quilts - Brown Bear, Ten Little Ducks, a Happy Birthday quilt, and others.

   I love the artwork on the left of this picture -- makes me think that blocks of fabric sewn into a simple quilt might make a great wall hanging for a stairwell.  Once upon a time I wallpapered a stair well with book jackets -- that was 30 years ago and I still love that wall.

Just looking through these pictures make me want to visit the museum even more and I haven't even seen any of the displays.  Thank you Jennifer Buliszak for sharing your photos with my readers (and with me).  I may have to settle for making another quilt -- but Carle's work has inspired me to do something.  Perhaps a name collage with tissue paper art.  We'll see.

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