Sunday, November 30, 2008

Great Family Field Trips!

The Season Abounds With
Great Children's Book Illustration Exhibits!

Take a break from mall madness: grab your kids and escape into a world of of children's book illustration art! You will discover great art and great books to share with the young people in your life, making your holiday season all the more memorable!

At the Art Institute of Chicago Museum in Chicago, Illinois:

The Bill Peet Storybook Menagerie

August 23, 2008–May 24, 2009
Galleries 15–16

Overview: After a 27-year career working as Walt Disney’s principle animator and main “storyman,” Bill Peet devoted himself full-time to writing and illustrating children’s books. Along with sketches and storyboards from his Disney days, this exhibition features original works of art from 14 of Peet’s 34 published books, including Buford the Little Bighorn, The Caboose Who Got Loose, Capyboppy, Chester the Worldly Pig, Cowardly Clyde, Ella, How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head, Kermit the Hermit, Pamela Camel, The Wump World, and the Caldecott Honor Book Bill Peet: An Autobiography.

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At the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City:

Drawing Babar: Early Drafts and Watercolors
September 19, 2008, through January 4, 2009

A dignified elephant, dressed in a green suit and wearing a yellow crown, walks upright across the page. This image—both absurd and endearing—has become instantly recognizable to several generations of readers throughout the world. The exhibition Drawing Babar returns visitors to the two essential moments of Babar's creation: when Jean de Brunhoff and, years later, his son Laurent, set down their initial thoughts on paper. Their earliest drafts, shown in juxtaposition with their finished watercolors, allow viewers to track the changes, both subtle and substantive, that both men made as they refined their work, bringing together word and image with elegance and exuberance.

In 2004 the Morgan acquired the working drafts and printer-ready watercolors for Histoire de Babar, le petit éléphant (1931), the first book by Jean de Brunhoff (1899–1937), and Babar et ce coquin d'Arthur (1946), the first book by Laurent de Brunhoff (b. 1925). Together these two collections—shown virtually in their entirety for the first time—provide an extraordinary record of the working methods of the two men, both painters turned storytellers. From the naming of Babar himself (first called simply "Baby Elephant") to the introduction of the beloved character Queen Celeste—not present in Jean de Brunhoff's first draft—these early sketches and watercolors provide an intimate look at the creation of an enduring fictional world.

Supplementing the Morgan's important collection of manuscripts and drawings are splendid copies of first editions of the earliest Babar books, notable for their large format and stunning graphic appeal.

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At the Eric Carle Museum in Western Massachusetts:

Over Rainbows and Down Rabbit Holes: The Art of Children's Books
November 11, 2008 - March 8, 2009

This exhibition features over 80 works of art created specifically for children’s books, drawn exclusively from the outstanding collection assembled by Les and Zora Charles. These original works of art will inspire the imagination and celebrate the creativity of making picture books for readers of all ages. Selections include examples from Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but the majority of the exhibition focuses on the genius of this genre working in the post-World War II period. Artists on view include: Chris Van Allsburg (Jumanji); Kinuko Y. Craft (Cinderella); Maurice Sendak (The Bee-Man of Orn); Leo and Diane Dillon (Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears); Trina Schart Hyman (Little Red Riding Hood); Gerald McDermott (Arrow to the Sun); Barry Moser (Jump On Over); and Jerry Pinkney (John Henry).

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At The Rhode Island School of Design Museum in Providence, Rhode Island:

Building Books: The Art of David Macaulay is the first in-depth museum exhibition devoted to this prolific author and artist. Macaulay [RISD '69, Architecture] has demystified the workings and origins of everything from simple gadgets to elaborate architectural structures. A favorite with readers of all ages, the Caldecott Medal-winning artist and MacArthur Fellow is the subject of an exhibition that takes a look at his artistic process and extensive body of work, including The New Way Things Work, Castle, Cathedral, City, Mill, Ship, and Mosque. Building Books presents a diverse range of exhibition materials, including original works of art, studies, sketchbooks, book dummies, manuscripts and correspondence, artifacts (including hand-built ship models), stuffed specimens, reference materials, travel mementos, and a video documentary about the artist, produced for the exhibition. Macaulay's books bring together the worlds of art, history, science and fantasy.

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At the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington DC:

Picturing Words: The Power of Book Illustration

Nov. 21, 2008-Jan. 4, 2010
This exhibition showcases the richness of illustrated books through history. Pictures influence, inform and inspire in many ways. They add beauty, color and life to the printed page, offering a feast for the eye as well as food for the mind. Visitors may explore the power of pictures through 40 featured rare books from the Smithsonian Libraries' collections in science, history and art, as well as objects from the Museum’s Graphic Arts Division.

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