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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday10 am-3 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 4 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Picture Books We Love

At The Carle: Celebrating Leo Lionni

Here at The Carle, we pay homage to Leo Lionni every day with our logo (which includes, among its memorable Caterpillar and Wild Thing images, Leo Lionni's iconic mice from Tillie and The Wall). And until November 28th, you can see our most recent exhibition of Leo Lionni's work from his picture book, Geraldine, the Music Mouse in our Central Gallery.

You may know that Lionni's modern design aesthetic and use of collage and white space was a major influence on many future children's book illustrators like Eric Carle, but did you know that before either of them became children's book creators Leo Lionni helped a young Eric Carle get his first job in New York as a graphic designer? Years later, Lionni encouraged Carle to try his hand at illustrating children's books.  Eric Carle once said, "Long before I myself was aware of it, Leo Lionni saw the picture-book artist in me." You can read more about Eric Carle's appreciation for Leo Lionni in our exhibition catalog from our 2003 show, Leo Lionni: A Passion for Creativity.

Leo Lionni was an art director for several advertising agencies and Fortune magazine before he began a long and successful career in children's books, which earned him four Caldecott Honor medals. His very first picture book, Little Blue, Little Yellow, was a story he invented with pieces of torn paper to entertain his restless grandchildren, Annie and Pippo, on a long train ride. This same granddaughter, Annie Lionni, will join us at The Carle on Saturday, October 30th at 1:00 pm to share her memories of her grandfather in our Auditorium, followed by two live theater performances of two of his picture books.

We are excited to welcome back Picture Book Theatre, a children's puppet and dance theater company, who will be performing Leo Lionni's Tico and The Golden Wings and Geraldine, the Music Mouse. Tickets are $5.00 and performances are at 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm on Saturday. On this special day before Halloween, children are encouraged to come dressed in their costumes to enjoy a costume parade following the performance. If you miss Saturday's performance, don't worry! Picture Book Theatre will be back each Saturday at The Carle for the entire month of November.

In celebration of 100 years since Leo Lionni's birth, one of Lionni's publishers, Random House, has some wonderful resources about Lionni available on their website, including photos, videos, and even some fun activities to use at home or in the classroom in connection with his books. My favorite is the "Make your own Paper Mouse" activity. So cute!

Are you missing a Leo Lionni book from your collection? We carry them all in our store! Click here to purchase.

For about 50 years, Lionni's books have been a part of children's homes, libraries and schools. Maybe you have a special story to tell about your connection with a Lionni book. Maybe you use one of his picture books in your classrooms. I adored Lionni's Swimmy when I was little (and still do!). I could stare and stare at those beautifully textured illustrations for hours. I was especially entranced by the illustrations of seaweed that looked like it had been printed with lace doilies and spent many hours attempting my own paper doily print art.  I'm sure you have a Lionni book that's special to you, too. Help us celebrate 100 years of Leo Lionni and tell us your story in the comments below!

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