Wednesday, February 4, 2009

eric carle museum of picture book art

My grandkids, our kids and we met last week at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. The Carle exhibit was down as they are preparing an exhibit for the 40th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, shown here in its quilt form above the registration desk.

The highlight of the visit was a living history presentation of Beatrix Potter Heelis. One of my favorite movies is Miss Potter, so I was into this. Marcia Estabrook really engaged the audience, some very young. She sprinkled Potter's Victorian background with questions and remained in character while responding to answers. She was just delightful.

In the gallery, the adults examined original picture book art by the Dillons, Beatrix Potter, Chris Van Allsburg, Trina Schart Hyman, Sendak and others. The kids plunked down on benches and read books! Finally, my seven-year-old grandson Wil, book in hand, led me to a Gerald McDermott painting from Arrow to the Sun and said, "Look. The cover of this book has the same colors as the painting."

We looked through the pages until he found the reproduction. He was pleased with himself and I was proud he had made a connection! Then he was off, grabbing books and searching the gallery until he found the right style and discovered the book art to match the painting. Of course, I thought he was very intelligent and happy he had found a way into the exhibition.

For my Maine poems, I experimented with the Higgledy-Piggledy or double-dactyl form yesterday. It's a challenging, playful form with nonsense rhymes and a single six-syllable word. Here I share my poem about shampooing a sheep for the sheep show.

Sheep Suds

Sudsion wudsion
Cheviot Champion,
hosed down and lathered with
copious suds.

Squeaky clean wooliness,
will win a ribbon for
Best of Show duds.

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