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


  • Thursday, Friday 10 am - 4 pm
  • Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Eric Carle Makes a Book press release

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art Presents Eric Carle Makes a Book

Amherst, MA (March 28, 2019)—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 Alternate book covers and unpublished artwork provide insight into Carle’s process, showing how he plays with images and text, rhythm and pacing, to refine his stories.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.
Please bring a bag lunch.

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.

Carol Goldenberg designed five Caldecott Medal picture books and two Caldecott Honor books. She studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design, and has a freelance book design business in Newton, MA.

The mission of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a non-profit organization in Amherst, MA, is to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. A leading advocate in its field, The Carle collects, preserves, presents, and celebrates picture books and picture-book illustrations from around the world. In addition to underscoring the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books and their art form, The Carle offers educational programs that provide a foundation for arts integration and literacy.

Eric Carle and his wife, the late Barbara Carle, co-founded the Museum in November 2002. Carle is the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Since opening, the 43,000-square foot facility has served more than 750,000 visitors, including 50,000 schoolchildren. The Carle houses more than 11,000 objects, including 7,300 permanent collection illustrations. The Carle has three art galleries, an art studio, a theater, picture book and scholarly libraries, and educational programs for families, scholars, educators, and schoolchildren. Bobbie’s Meadow is a new outdoor space that combines art and nature. Educational offerings include professional training for educators around the country and Master's degree programs in children's literature with Simmons College. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 am to 4 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday 12 pm to 5 pm. Open Mondays in July and August and during MA school vacation weeks. Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children under 18, and $22.50 for a family of four. For further information and directions, call (413) 559-6300 or visit the Museum's website at

IMAGES ARE AVAILABLE FOR REPRODUCTION For additional information, please contact Sandy Soderberg,

Eric Carle, Illustration for 10 Little Rubber Ducks (HarperCollins). Collection of Eric and Barbara Carle. © 2005 Eric Carle


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