The North Carolina Museum of Art

Fins and Feathers: Original Children’s Book Illustrations from The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

November 7, 2010–January 30, 2011

Eric Carle, Green Frog, Green Frog, What do you see?, 1984, from Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Henry Holt, 1967, 1984), written by Bill Martin Jr., tissue paper on Bainbridge board, 12 ¼ x 17 ¾ in., Collection of Eric and Barbara Carle, courtesy of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, © 1967, 1984 Eric Carle More images

Do you remember your favorite illustrated books from childhood? Perhaps you were awed by swirling colors, fantastical creatures, and detailed vignettes that brought stories to life. The world of children’s book illustrations is a lush, imaginative arena for artistic exploration that can last a lifetime, and it is often a child’s first aesthetic experience. Relive the fantasy and fun for yourself—or introduce your family to old favorites—with Fins and Feathers: Original Children’s Book Illustrations from The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Fins and Feathers, opening in November 2010, features original illustrations for children’s books from the late 1960s through today, including illustrations by Leo Lionni, Eric Carle, and Petra Mathers.

The fanciful illustrations in Fins and Feathers are drawn from the collection of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass. Established by artist and author Eric Carle in 2002, the museum is the first of its kind, devoted exclusively to original picture book art from American and international illustrators. Fins and Feathers highlights some of the best works from this collection, including a number of works by Arnold Lobel, who illustrated classic stories in The Random House Book of Poetry for Children and The Random House Book of Mother Goose. Also highlighted are works by Ashley Bryan, the much-praised and award-winning author and illustrator of Beat the Story-Drum, Pum-Pum. This book, a collection of Nigerian folktales, is just one of his works to have won a prestigious Coretta Scott King Award, which honors African American authors and outstanding works of literature for children or young adults.

Fins and Feathers features daydreaming fish, stately egrets, day-tripping chickens, and one very mixed-up chameleon. By turns humorous and elegant, the illustrations sparkle with bright colors and even brighter original imagery. This family-friendly exhibition is the perfect attraction for children and children- at-heart.

With a commitment to serve the younger citizens of our state, the North Carolina Museum of Art presents Fins and Feathers in concert with four other exhibitions in fall 2010. Families will find a natural connection between the children’s picture book biography Into the Woods: John James Audubon Lives His Dream and the exhibition of the newly restored folios of John James Audubon’s The Birds of America in a new nearby gallery. Fins and Feathers also provides an interesting counterpoint to American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell, where children and their families can enjoy examining and comparing different styles of illustration for books and print media.

Organized by The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, Mass. In Raleigh support is provided by Rex Healthcare. This exhibition is also made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.

Plan Your Visit

Fins and Feathers is located in East Building on Level B (see map).

The exhibition is free of charge and not ticketed.

Tours of the exhibition are self-guided.


Rockwell Café, on Level C, makes a great quick stop for a snack or full meal. Reservations are not necessary for this counter service dining option. The Café opens with the Museum and closes 30 minutes before the exhibitions close.


Visit the Exhibition Store on Level B in East Building and the Museum Store in West Building during your visit.

Rex Healthcare


Eric Carle Museum
Ashley Bryan

Leo Lionni

Arnold Lobel

David L. Harrison

Petra Mathers

Wendell Minor

Caldecott Winners


Fins and Feathers Book List

Fables by Arnold Lobel; ISBN-10: 0064430464

Little Turtle’s Big Adventure by David Harrison and John Par Miller; ISBN-10: 0394863453

Beat the Story-Drum, Pum Pum by Ashley Bryan; ISBN-10: 0689711077

Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan; ISBN-10: 0689847319

Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni; ISBN-10: 0394804406

Tillie and the Wall by Leo Lionni; ISBN-10: 0679813578

An Extraordinary Egg by Leo Lionni; ISBN-10: 0679893857

Into the Woods: John James Audubon Lives His Dream by Wendell Minor and Robert Burleigh; ISBN-10: 0689830408

Lottie’s New Beach Towel by Petra Mathers; ISBN-10: 0689844417

My Working Mom by Tedd Arnold and Peter Glassman; ISBN-10: 0064410331

Gregory Griggs and Other Nursery Rhyme People by Arnold Lobel; ISBN-10: 0688070426

The Random House Book of Poetry for Children by Arnold Lobel; ISBN-10: 0394850106

The Random House Book of Mother Goose by Arnold Lobel; ISBN-10: 0394867998

The Ice Cream Cone Coot and Other Rare Birds by Arnold Lobel

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle; ISBN-10: 0805087184

The Foolish Tortoise by Eric Carle; ISBN-10: 0590462857

The Mountain That Loved a Bird by Eric Carle; ISBN-10: 0689833199

The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle; ISBN-10: 0064431622


In the Library


Natov, Roni and Geraldine Deluca. An Interview with Arnold Lobel. The Lion and the Unicorn 1:1 (1977):72–96.

Hearn, Michael Patrick. Arnold Lobel: An Appreciation. The Washington Post (Jan. 10, 1988).

Harrison, David L. Retracting memories. Teaching Pre K-8 35:7 (April 2005): 46–47.

Schneider, Dean. Talking with Ashley Bryan. Book Links 18:6 (July 2009): 36–37.

Heller, Steven. Tribute: Leo Lionni, 1910–1999.  Print 54:3 (May 2000): 26+

Delatiner, Barbara.  Illustrators Draw on the Inner Child.  New York Times (Nov. 17, 1985): L123.

Sarah Troetschel. Illustrator enjoys teaching next generation. Pittsburgh Post–Gazette (Oct. 21, 2009): C5.