Saturday, April 18, 2009

Children, Children What Do You See?

We see Eric Carle's Museum of Picture Book Art! Today we took a day trip to Amherst, Mass, to visit a cute little museum showcasing the art in children's books. Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar turns 40 this year, and schools from around the world, including ours, have sent butterflies to the museum to help celebrate. We searched the butterflies looking for Riley's and Mary Beth's. And although we quickly found Mary Beth's, we were not able to locate Riley's.

The museum is small with 3 galleries displaying original artwork from well known authors and stories. We were able to see Eric Carle's original idea (Willie the Worm) for his now famous Caterpillar--you know the very hungry one. One of his editors didn't think the worm idea would fly, so they brainstormed alternatives. We also got to see some of the original drafts from his book 10 Little Rubber Ducks, which was the book Mary Beth won from the library for her Pippi Longstocking duck. One of my favorite authors of children's stories, Virginia Lee Burton, had artwork from her books The Little House, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Katy and the Big Snow, and The Emperor's New Clothes displayed, along with some of the dummy boards she used in her early drafts.

After spending a little time in the galleries, we went to the art room where the kids were able to use some materials to draw and create. They were especially impressed with the "spinners" which were markers with a circular disc around them.
And how cute is this? They have a little VW bug painted like the Caterpillar. I wouldn't mind driving around in that. Additionally, the gift shop sold fabric. I resisted buying an entire bolt, and satisfied myself with some of the smaller scraps.

Probably the most surprising part of the excursion (second only to the time we were driving through a town named Belchertown) was a geocache opportunity right outside of the museum! The title was so appropriate--Where the Wild Things Are. It was hidden among some apple trees, and was easy to find since our trees are still without LEAVES!! (but I digress) It was above eye level, but our sleuthy kids were quick to spot the likely hiding place.

A good day.

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