"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" gets a show In this March 30, 2016 photo, visitors look at collages by children's book author and illustrator Eric Carle at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The exhibition "I See a Story: The Art of Eric Carle" opens April 2, and runs thru Jan. 8. (AP Photo/Kate Brumback)
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" gets a show
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Atlanta's High Museum of Art is inviting visitors into a colorful world populated by playful animals and imaginative children.
 
"I See a Story: The Art of Eric Carle" runs through Jan. 8 and features more than 80 collages from 16 books by the author of children's favorites like "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "The Grouchy Ladybug." Carle's bright images explore themes including childhood, nature and journeys.
 
Adults can revel in the nostalgia of books they read as children or read to their own children, while kids are treated to an exhibition arranged with them in mind. The collages are hung just a few feet off the ground, and a scavenger hunt provides an opportunity to engage more fully with the art.
 
A close look at the collages helps visitors understand how Carle works. He uses acrylic paint on white tissue paper to create bright sheets that he stores grouped by color in his studio. When he's creating a collage he selects a sheet from his collection and cuts it using a razor or tears it by hand before layering the pieces into colorful scenes.
 
The works in the exhibition span five decades and are drawn from the collection of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. The High is the only venue where the exhibition will be shown.
 
Once the exhibition is over, the highly light-sensitive works will be removed from their frames and matting to be returned to the Carle Museum's vault for 10 years, High director of education Virginia Shearer said.
 
"I feel like everybody who lives here should realize what a gift it is and should come down and see it," she said of the exhibition.
 
Carle, who is 86, is formally retired and spends much of his time in the Florida Keys, but he still enjoys working in his studio space in Northampton, Massachusetts, near the Carle Museum. He was born to German parents in Syracuse, New York. His family returned to Germany when he was 6. He moved to New York City in 1952 and worked as a graphic designer in The New York Times' promotion department. He later worked as art director for an advertising agency.
 
He turned to children's books in 1967 when author Bill Martin Jr. asked him to illustrate a story that became "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" The first book he wrote and illustrated himself was "1, 2, 3 to the Zoo" in 1968, followed by "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" in 1969.
 
Carle draws on his own life experiences for inspiration, said Ellen Keiter, chief curator of the Carle Museum. Insects and animals are drawn from his memories of childhood walks with his father. "Walter the Baker" pays homage to an uncle who encouraged his creativity. "Friends" is based on his experience of leaving his best friend when his family moved to Germany. And "Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me" was prompted by a request from his daughter.
 
Dummy books show how some of his most famous books evolved from idea to finished product. They reveal original alternate titles, like "The Ill-Tempered Ladybug" and "The Mean Old Ladybug."
 
"They really let you see the hand of the artist and how he's thinking," Keiter said of the preliminary mock-ups.
 
Some of the highlights of the exhibition are five works from the 1987 edition of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," the original eight-page collage of the blue whale from "The Grouchy Ladybug" and original 1967 collages of characters from "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why might adults want to see a show about children's books?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (26)
  • TehyaWhite-Ste
    4/12/2016 - 12:04 p.m.

    I think adults might want to see this show because this book was very popular when they were younger. This show will bring back their happy, childhood memories.

  • briannec-ste
    4/13/2016 - 02:02 p.m.

    This was my favorite book as a kid and it would be very fun to see this.

  • ShawnaWeiser-Ste
    4/14/2016 - 01:59 p.m.

    This was such an important part of my childhood that I would love to see the show. My parents used to read me this book every night. I would love to be able to take them to show that them reading to me was a great thing.

  • seana-lam
    4/19/2016 - 02:34 p.m.

    "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" was one of my favorite stories growing up and I'm so jealous of the people that get to see his art! I also find it surprising that his illustrations were as successful as they were right off the bat.

  • kaylab-lam
    4/19/2016 - 02:36 p.m.

    I think that this is a really cool idea and it should be done with more children books. This was one of my favorite authors as a kid because I could sit there and read her books over and over. I think seeing a show like this would be so fun and getting to see how the author works would be great.

  • dawsone1-wal
    4/29/2016 - 12:21 p.m.

    I've always felt a bit underwhelmed by most children's books. I get that they are for children, so it's better that they're simpler, but even with accepting that, most feel low-effort for the authors. While the writing of this book isn't an exception looking back, the art style works surprisingly well for the book and in my eyes, even better isolated. It feels raw, yet playful. There's something very natural about the art, it makes the book feel less like an easy money scoring and more like something the author really put effort and heart into.

  • noahi-fel
    5/09/2016 - 02:22 p.m.

    Because they want to see something from their childhood again

  • kolbyd-fel
    5/16/2016 - 02:11 p.m.

    Adults might like to see the show because the book was around when they were kids.

  • ethany-fel
    5/16/2016 - 02:13 p.m.

    adults might want to see a show about children's books because their parents might have read them some of theose stories.

  • calaabj-fel
    5/16/2016 - 02:13 p.m.

    Adults might want to see a show about childrens books so they could learn more about the author and also so they do not have to explain everything to their kids.

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