Eric Carle Hallway of Illustrations
How pleasant would your day be if you could walk down a hallway full of Eric Carle illustrations? I don’t know about you, but his artwork just brings a smile to my face and his stories are simply entertaining. The Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina has the honor of showcasing several of Eric Carle’s illustrations. The students attending class there, pass by his work each day. If I were one of them, I’d consider myself lucky and find myself inspired.
That’s exactly how I was feeling on July 19, 2013, when I had the opportunity to hear Eric Carle speak. After learning a lot from him, I was like a salmon swimming upstream as I approached the podium for a picture and brief conversation (about Germany and my camera). While others filed outside for the book signing, I viewed the exhibit on the 3rd Floor, and a few illustrations on the 4th Floor. I thought I would walk around a bit and let the line draw down, but that wasn’t the case. That’s okay…I waited about an hour and a half to have two books and one blank sheet of paper signed.
Why a blank sheet? Or in his words, “What do you want me to do with this?” To which I replied, “I’d like for you to sign it if you could.” In my head I toyed with the idea of asking him to doodle something for me, but that might have been pushing it. I wanted a blank sheet of paper as a reminder to myself that even Eric Carle started with a blank sheet of paper at one time. I don’t think I’d be a good illustrator, but maybe one day my blank sheets will be covered with written ideas.
Not only is the hallway of illustrations used as a resource for preservice teachers, but local teachers bring their students to view the artwork, and visitors are welcome any time when the building is open. (Just don’t disrupt classes that might be taking place.) Tours can be scheduled through the Dean’s Office. If you live in the area or are ever in that neck of the North Carolinian Woods, I highly suggest to take a sliver of time out of your busy day to enjoy the illustrations. I am only sharing a few of my pictures here, but encourage you to open one of his millions of copies sold and enjoy them for yourself!
If this interests you, another spot to visit is in Amherst, Massachusetts. Eric and his wife, Barbara Carle founded the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art there in 2002. During his speech, he told the audience that it’s not just a museum for children, but for everyone. If I ever get there one day, I’ll be sure to share the experience with you!
What is your favorite Eric Carle illustration? What is your favorite Eric Carle book? (Share in the comments.)
When he was asked these questions during the Q&A session, he was stumped by his favorite book, but almost without hesitation, he said the elephant on the cover of Do You Want To Be My Friend? is his favorite illustration. He elaborated by saying that the elephant fills the space beautifully, and since he was an only child, friends were very important to him.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this article. All opinions are my own and based on my experience at this free public event.