Exhibit | April 1, 2019

"Eric Carle Makes a Book" Opens April 6

Amherst, MA — The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art takes an in-depth look at the creative process in a new exhibition called Eric Carle Makes a Book, on display in the Museum's West Gallery from April 6 through August 25, 2019. The exhibition explores the development of four books, from Carle's early thumbnail sketches and dummy books to his published tissue paper collages. "As I work on the book, I love it. I hate it. I think it's awful, and I think it's wonderful," says the artist. Over a 50-year career, Carle has composed heartwarming stories inspired by personal experiences and designed books with unique tactile elements that further engage his readers.  

Eric Carle Makes a Book features four beloved titles. In From Head to Toe (1997), a gorilla, elephant, camel, and other animals invite young readers to clap, stomp, wiggle, and move their bodies. Carle conceived the story idea from exercises he learned to alleviate back pain."Slowly, Slowly, Slowly," Said the Sloth (2002) tells the tale of a sloth who, despite criticisms from fellow rainforest creatures, takes life one slow step at a time. Carle created the book amidst the frenetic planning and construction of the Museum--a time when he needed to remind himself to slow down. Like the sloth, the protagonist in The Very Clumsy Click Beetle (1999) also moves a little differently than its friends, but with the help of various animals and a wise beetle, finally lands on its feet. It is a story about persistence and the importance of never giving up. Meanwhile, the real-life travels of 29,000 rubber bath toys capsized from a container ship in the Pacific Ocean inspired Carle's 10 Little Rubber Ducks (2005). While scientists studied the ducks astonishing transcontinental migrations, Carle took a more poetic approach, imagining the adventures of ten little rubber ducks and the colorful sea creatures they encounter.

Carle's books require months or even years of research, planning, and experiment. Alternate book covers and unpublished artwork provide insight into Carle's process, showing how he plays with images and text, rhythm and pacing, to refine his stories. The exhibition looks at book mechanics--folds, flaps, lights, sounds, and die-cut holes--to demonstrate the ways Carle has expanded the possibilities of a picture book. A special gallery case displays a selection of Carle's dummy books for stories that never came to fruition--and have never before been shared with the public. Guests are invited to make their own books at an activity station and young visitors can crawl inside a custom designed bookcase.


Books Before Bedtime PJ Party 

April 18, 6:00pm - 8:00pm 

Free with Museum Admission 

Come see the Eric Carle Makes a Book exhibition in your PJs, and don't forget to bring along your favorite stuffed animal! In addition to bookmaking, storytime, films, and milk and cookies, guests can have  drawings made of their stuffed animal by local artists. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 

Everyday Art Program: Transforming Tissue Paper

April 24 - May 28, 2019

All day 

Free with Museum Admission

Celebrate the exhibition Eric Carle Makes a Book and create your own tissue paper collage. 

Special Storytime: Books in Translation 

April 30, 10:30am - 11:00am 

Free with Museum Admission 

While we can use books to travel to other places without leaving home, books themselves can also travel thanks to translators. Come find out what happens when a book leaves its home language and moves into another. This special storytime, facilitated by UMass students in the Practicing Literary Translation course, aims to cultivate an awareness of literary translation.  This program is offered in conjunction with the annual celebration of Día. Also known as El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day), Día is a nationally recognized initiative committed to linking children and their families to diverse books, languages and cultures. 

How Picture Books Work with Illustrator Claudia Rueda 

May 13, 10:00am - 4:30pm 

$90 (Members $76.50) 

Adult workshop, ages 16 and up

How do you sketch a picture book idea? How do you write a story that is told both with words and images? Join picture book author and New York Times bestselling illustrator Claudia Rueda in this intensive six-hour workshop. You'll explore the most important elements of visual writing and learn how to plan a picture book by using a storyboard and building a picture book dummy.

Book Share & Tell 

May 19, 1:00pm 

Free with Museum Admission 

Students from neighboring Wildwood and Fort River Elementary Schools will share their favorite picture books, early readers, and middle grade books from the 2018-2019 school year. 

The Invisible Art of Children's Book Design with Carol Goldenberg 

May 25, 1:00pm 

Free with Museum Admission 

Many people express surprise when told that all books, including those for children, are designed. Yet this is an appropriate response, as book design and typography are at their most successful when not immediately apparent to the reader. Award-winning book designer Carol Goldenberg likes to call this "invisible art."  Using examples from a long career designing many Caldecott-winning picture books for children, Goldenberg will take participants through the complex process of designing a book, from manuscript to the printed edition.