An Illustrator for the Young at Art

Young at Art, p.3

Child: What do you hope the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art will offer people?

Carle: Art. Beauty. Culture. Visual stimulus. There's so much ugliness in life, so much war, and it's not going to go away. But man lives not by bread alone. You need art. You need culture. You need beauty. And that's what I hope this museum will give. The exciting thing about opening the museum is that I am realizing a vision I had. But the vision is only 1% of the process. Ninety-nine percent is sweat, work, worry, and daily concerns and meetings with the architect, consultants, and staff. What they say about genius -- it's 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration -- is true of the museum too. But that 1% is so beautiful, it's worth it.

Child: How did the idea come about?

Carle: My wife Barbara and I began dreaming about the idea of a museum seven years ago. We started out thinking about a relatively small place, just one big room. Then we hired our architect, Earl Pope, who asked us how big we thought the museum should be and we arrived at the notion that it should be big enough to hold three busloads of children, plus some adults. Then we thought, "Well, it would be nice to have an auditorium, it would be nice to have a studio, it would be nice to have a library, it would be nice... Oh, make it a little bigger." So that's how it grew.

Child: Can you describe some of your childhood memories? What were some of your favorite children's books growing up?

Carle: I loved drawing as far back as I can remember. My father loved to draw and he drew well. Often he drew pictures for me. He was also a wonderful storyteller and told me stories of animals and insects. My father wanted to become an artist, but his father would have none of that -- no starving artist in his family! And so my father was forced into a managerial profession, which he loathed all his life.

While I didn't have many books as a child in Syracuse, NY, where I was born, I read Mickey Mouse and Flash Gordon comic books. In Germany, where my family moved when I was 6, I liked two classics: Struwwelpeter by Heinrich Hoffman and Max & Moritz by Wilhelm Busch.

Parents Are Talking

Add a Comment