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Eric Carle Famous Children’s Author Debuts Work in High Museum of Art

JOHNSON 1:  Michelle Jackson, works with the  Atlanta First Day School, a private school in Atlanta. She says Eric Carle’s books teach lessons. Her takeaway from the The Very Hungry Caterpillar – which chronicles the journey of a caterpillar in the days before going into its chrysalis – is really a story about how to reinvent yourself and go through a little hurt to become a better person.

Jackson 1  

“They kind of have this life lesson. It’s been one of the best ways I been able to kind of teach children.” (00:07)

JOHNSON 2: She says his books are popular with teachers as a way to teach basic skills to kids.

Jackson 2  

“They can break down colors, identify colors, strengthen colors, they can count because every time the caterpillar eats something its addition.” (00:11)

JOHNSON 3: Carle isn’t just beloved by teachers, children and parents. Virginia Sweeney is co-curator of the exhibit at the High Museum of Art. She says his work is museum worthy.

Sweeney 1

“These are incredibly skilled works of art. We can look at the butterfly over here.” (00:05)

JOHNSON 5: As Sweeney points to his work on the walls, the details, the colors and the thought that went into his paintings stand out.

Sweeney 2

“I am just going to tell you about Eric Carles technique. He starts with blank white sheets of tissue papers and he paints them with beautiful abstract patterns using acrylic paint.” (00:12)

Webb 1

“He’s not just an artist that has moral messages, creates beautiful works, and spans generations but that he is integrally interwoven into history. (00:15)

JOHNSON 6: Emily Webb teaches art history at at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah. Eric Carle was born in New York  to German parents – when he was six, his parents moved him back to Germany.  Webb saids it was World War II and it was a dangerous time to be an artist. The Germans looked at artists as degenerates.

Webb 2

“Having been in Germany during and after World War II, being exposed to work that was criminalized and hidden away and destroyed by hitler and the Nazis, to be shown this work and all of sudden impassioned by something so unfamiliar, so strange, that kind of work that was degenerated, that was the avant garde.” (00:29)

JOHNSON 7: Chelsea Love is at the exhibit with her five year old twins. She wants to how them the vibrant books and illustrations in person. One of her favorite books is the Mixed Up Chameleon  – about a lizard who wants to become like everybody else.

Love 1

“Just teach ing them how you’re special and you have characteristics unlike anyone else. And the things that you have are special to you and they are what help to guide your path.” (00:12)

JOHNSON 7: If you want to find your way to see Carles work. The exhibit will be on view through December.

Jaki Johnson, Columbia Radio News.


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