The Brandywine River Museum offers a chance to return to childhood-and to enchant children through an exhibition featuring original illustrations from award-winning books. “Drawing from a Story: Illustrations by Selected Caldecott Medal Winners,” on view from March 20 through May 23, will feature work by Maurice Sendak, Robert McCloskey, Ezra Jack Keats and many others, including the 2010 medal winner, Jerry Pinkney.
Fairy tales, fables, folk tales and myths are usually a child’s first steps into the world of literature, providing entrée to fantastic, magical worlds. For the very young, the pictures that accompany these tales are often as important as the story itself. Illustrations stir the imagination and bring stories to life.
The Caldecott Medal, named in honor of the influential Nineteenth Century English illustrator Ralph Caldecott, was first awarded in 1938. Today the Caldecott medal is the most prestigious award presented to children’s book illustrators in the United States, and more than 70 artists have won it.
Each medal-winning book expresses its artist’s individual style and creativity. The books, although united by this medal, are very different from each other. The subjects are as diverse as children’s literature itself. The artistic media used to create the books are also varied; media range from watercolor to pen and ink, from cut paper to collage. Some books, such as Robert McCloskey’s Make Way For Ducklings, Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are and Ezra Jack Keat’s Snowy Day , have become widely recognized children’s classics.
The exhibition will include illustrations from many beloved children’ books, including Ox-Cart Man , illustrated by Barbara Cooney; Owl Moon , illustrated by John Schoenherr; Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions , illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon; and Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinksy. The display will include illustrations from Tuesday, Three Little Pigs and Flotsam by David Weisner, one of only two artists to receive the award three times.
The Brandywine River Museum offers a day of art and reading adventures on April 1 for the “Celebrating Caldecott Children’s Day.” Families may visit any time from 10 am to 1 pm and take a guided tour of the exhibition, listen to stories, see animated versions of Sendak’s books ( Into the Night Kitchen, Where the Wild Things Are and Chicken Soup with Rice ) and create hands-on art projects. The program is free with regular museum admission.
On April 11, from 1 to 3 pm, Weisner will sign copies of his Caldecott Medal-winning books. Copies may be purchased in the museum shop. The signing is free for members and included with museum admission.
The Brandywine River Museum is on US Route 1. For information, 610-388-2700 or www.brandywinemuseum.org .