Illustration of rooster next to rising sun.
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Birdwatching with Eric Carle

In Eric Carle’s stories, birds soar across the sky, march through the snow, and wade in water. They embark on exciting adventures, like the rooster who goes off to see the world and the 10 little rubber ducks that float on ocean currents to faraway locations. The Carle is pleased to present Birdwatching with Eric Carle on view March 16 through August 25, 2024.  

Carle included birds in almost every book he created, whether as protagonists or supporting characters. Guests can delight in a colorful cast of avian friends from 28 publications. They are displayed according to habitat—long-billed macaws in a tropical rain forest, arctic penguins on an iceberg, and clucking chickens in a backyard coop.  

Chief curator Ellen Keiter jokes, “Our groupings support the old English proverb—birds of a feather flock together.”  

In the exhibition, visitors will meet Joy, a small bird who plants a tiny seed each spring on a stone mountain, gradually transforming it into fertile land. They will learn why the Old Testament character of Noah chose the white dove as a symbol of peace. And they will recognize two familiar friends—the red bird and yellow duck—from Carle’s first picture book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (1967). Carle re-illustrated Bill Martin Jr.’s famous story four times, and the yellow duck on view is from the 1984 British edition.  

Keiter observes, “It seems that peacocks and roosters were among Eric’s favorite birds to portray as we found numerous examples in the collection. I imagine Eric reveled in their fanciful colors and patterns. We are excited to feature the peacock from Eric’s 1971 book Do You Want to Be My Friend? Of the more than 70 books Eric created, it always remained his favorite because it is a book about friendship.” Regarding a favorite artwork, Keiter says, “I am particularly fond of the sleeping rooster from Rooster’s Off to See the World (1972). The bird’s beautiful plumage glows against the night sky. We just had the work conserved for the exhibition.”

Also on view are works from Carle’s early career, including a poster he designed in the 1960s to advertise Chlor-Trimeton tablets when he worked as a graphic designer for a pharmaceutical company. Below his colorful menagerie of birds is the tagline “When feathers stir up an allergic storm.” There are Carle’s linoleum prints from Feathered Ones and Furry, written by Aileen Fisher in 1971, and small collages from Flora and Tiger (1997), Carle’s autobiographical collection of short stories. Keiter and her team designed a comfortable reading area for guests to “nest” with an enjoyable book, while gallery binoculars allow for a unique indoor birdwatching experience.  

This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the Hsin-Yi Foundation.

The exhibition features the following books illustrated by Eric Carle (1929-2021):

1, 2, 3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle, 1987

10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle, 2005

All About Arthur (An Absolutely Absurd Ape) by Eric Carle, 1974

All Around Us by Eric Carle, 1986

Animals Animals by Laura Whipple, 1989

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr., 1967

Chip Has Many Brothers by Hans Baumann, 1985

Do You Want to Be My Friend? by Eric Carle, 1971

Does A Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? by Eric Carle, 2000

Feathered Ones & Furry by Aileen Fisher, 1971

Flora and Tiger: 19 Very Short Stories from My Life, by Eric Carle, 1997

My Very First Book of Heads & Tails by Eric Carle, 1986

My Very First Book of Sounds by Eric Carle, 1986

Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr., 2003

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr., 1991

Red-Flannel Hash and Shoo-Fly Pie: American Regional Foods and Festivals by Lila Pearl, 1965

Rooster’s Off to See the World by Eric Carle, 1972

Seven Stories by Hans Christian Andersen, 1978

“Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” said the Sloth by Eric Carle, 2002

The Mountain that Loved a Bird by Alice McLerran, 1985

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle, 1970

The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle, 1984

The Very Long Train by Eric Carle, 1972

Today is Monday by Eric Carle, 1993

Twelve Tales from Aesop by Eric Carle, 1986

Why Noah Chose the Dove by Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1974

You Can Make a Collage by Eric Carle, 1998

About the Museum  

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is the international champion for picture books. We collect, preserve, and exhibit original illustrations, encourage guests of all ages to read and create art, and foster an ever-growing audience passionate about children’s literature.

The late Eric and Barbara Carle co-founded the Museum in November 2002. Eric Carle was the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Since opening, the 43,000-square foot facility has served nearly one million visitors. The Carle houses 9,000 permanent collection illustrations. The Carle has three art galleries, an art studio, a theater, picture book and scholarly libraries, and educational programs for families, scholars, educators, and school children. Bobbie’s Meadow is an outdoor space that combines art and nature. Educational offerings include professional training for educators around the country and master’s degree programs in children’s literature with Simmons University. The Museum offers digital resources, including art activities, book recommendations, collections videos, exhibition videos, as well as workshops for online visitors. Learn more at and on Facebook, YouTube, X, and Instagram @CarleMuseum.  

For media inquiries, additional press information, and photo requests, please contact Sandy Soderberg at

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