Friday, January 17, 2014

Heaven for my Inner Child (Or why you should be friends with a children's literature specialist)

 If you ever get to the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts, be sure to go to Amherst and the Eric Carle Museum of Children's books and Illustration.  SO FABULOUS!

I forgot to actually take a photograph of the exterior, so I snagged the one below. (Thank you Hampshire College graduates).  The building is exquisitely scaled.  Open.  Light.  Reasonably sized exhibitions.

This little girl looked as awestruck as I felt.

Below is a bronze cast "under sea world" gifted to the museum by Leo Lionni, author/illustrator of Swimmy. It was fun and reassuring to realize that many artists experiment... and in ways few people know about.

 The museum, wisely, had a large snack bar with LOTS of space.  It would probably hold several classes of children, but on a Saturday, it also provided room for toddlers to walk off their energy!  (Loved the minimalist Scandinavian birch high chairs, too.)

 There were two special exhibits in the museum, but photographs there were prohibited.

So I took pictures of part of the mini exhibit in the library:  Pictures books based on illuminated manuscripts.

And there was one of my favorite illustrators:  Trina Schart Hyman in Jean Fritz's book, The man who loved books.

Double click on the image to see a larger format.

The reason you must get to know a children's librarian, or at least an Indie Bookseller who loves children's books, is that there are so many wonderful ones that never make it to the shelves of your local book store.  (or if they do, are only on the shelves for a month or two when they are first publiched.

The Eric Carle store obviously had a knowledgeable and well informed book selector.  I can hardly wait to read and compare LonPoPo (a Chinese version of Little Red Riding Hood) to the more vamiliar version illustrated by another favorite, Jerry Pinkney.

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales are new to me, having been out of the biz for a while.  But they are fact checked AND funny! What a fun way to learn history.  Donner Dinner Party, indeed.

Doesn't every child deserve to be introduced to the misfit/genius Einstein before he has had to struggle with calculus (or even algebra)?
 Below is the cover for Jumping Penguins.
 Can't believe I had the discipline to not buy 10 copies of Extra Yarn.
 For more great pictures click here:

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