July 2014 | Rebecca Rego Barry

3 Favorites from Eric Carle

Yesterday I took a little "field trip" to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass. Two school-aged children and I wandered the exhibits, perused the library, and worked in the hands-on art studio, and it was delightful. There are three current exhibits this summer. Below are my favorites from each:

The typescript "manuscript" of Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet the Spy, seen in Harriet the Spy Turns Fifty (on view through Nov. 30). Held in the museum's central gallery, the Carle organized this exhibit of Fitzhugh's pen and ink illustrations, and it premiered at NYC's Forbes Galleries earlier this year. 
The pigeon-caterpillar drawn in watercolor and crayon by Mo Willems, seen in The Art of Eric Carle & Friends: What's Your Favorite Animal? (on view through Aug. 31). This exhibit is the result of book project, published by Henry Holt & Co., in which Carle partnered with 14 leading illustrators to celebrate his museum's tenth anniversary in 2012.
The "dummy" books of Simms Taback, seen in Simms Taback: Art by Design (on view through Oct. 26). Celebrating the newly acquired Taback archive, the Carle just opened this exhibit, which surveys Taback's eight major books. In several instances, he crafted little example books, which really show the artist's process. (The 6-year-old budding artist really liked those.)
The thing about the Carle Museum is: whether you are 6, 9, or, ahem, much older, something--maybe everything--will appeal to you.