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Eric Carle: Just for Laughs

Inhabit a joyful world where an orange elephant, a fish in a birdcage, and a snake entwined in spaghetti can spark imaginations and inspire giggles.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is pleased to explore its co-founder’s innate sense of humor in Eric Carle: Just for Laughs. This new exhibition features comical collages from The Mixed-Up Chameleon (1975), The Grouchy Ladybug (1977), The Greedy Python (1985), The Nonsense Show (2015), and seven other titles. On view for the first time are four of Carle’s amusing illustrations for The Scarecrow Clock (1971), a little known and now out-of-print book, on loan from The Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota Libraries. A selection of illustrated letters and thank you notes further reveal Carle’s wit and humor in his personal relationships. Just for Laughs is on view now through February 28, 2021.

Peek into Carle’s creative process with book dummies for The Grouchy Ladybug. Laugh alongside his absurdist illustrations for The Nonsense Show. Dive into Carle’s letters for a glimpse of his mischievous side. Draw funny animals inspired by The Mixed-up Chameleon. Read books under a bright blue “sky” in the gallery’s reading corner.

Carle’s art has always had the propensity to make us laugh. “From the Very Hungry Caterpillar’s tummy ache to the topsy-turvy world in The Nonsense Show, Eric infuses his stories with humor,” says chief curator Ellen Keiter. “Little did we know when we planned this exhibition two years ago how much we would appreciate an excuse to laugh together.”

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

Exhibition artworks from the following books

The Scarecrow Clock, George Mendoza, 1971
Walter the Baker, 1972
The Mixed-up Chameleon, 1975
The Grouchy Ladybug, 1977
Watch Out! A Giant!, 1978
Twelve Tales from Aesop: Retold and Illustrated, 1980
Otter Nonsense, Norton Juster, 1982
The Greedy Python, 1985
Today is Monday, 1993
The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, 2011
The Nonsense Show, 2015

When to Visit

The Museum’s fall hours are Thursday and Friday, 10am-3pm, Saturday 10am-4pm, and Sunday 12pm-4pm. Visitors are encouraged to use the new registration system, choosing a morning or afternoon time slot. (Walk-ins are welcome as space permits.) In order to comply with state guidelines and to offer a safe and comfortable visit, the Museum has a number of new protocols in place:

•   There are capacity limits and new cleaning protocols for Museum spaces. Some areas may require guests to wait in a socially distanced line before entering.   
•   Visitors are required to wear face coverings. Children 2-5 are encouraged to wear face coverings. Children under 2 should not wear face coverings.    
•   All visitors must maintain six feet of distance between Museum staff and guests outside their group. Children must stay with their adult(s) at all times.   
•   The Carle Bookshop is open and offers curbside pickup.
•   The Art Studio is open to the public, but will welcome one family or group at a time. Upon arrival, visitors can sign up at the admissions desk for a specific time. For visitors who don’t take a Studio spot, art activity kits “to go” are available for pick up and can be used in Bobbie’s Meadow or to take home.
•   The Café is closed. Visitors are welcome to picnic in Bobbie’s Meadow, which is in full bloom!

Guests planning to visit should check The Carle’s website for additional details and to reserve advance tickets here. Questions about visiting can be sent to

About the Museum

The mission of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a non-profit organization in Amherst, MA, is to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. A leading advocate in its field, The Carle collects, preserves, presents, and celebrates picture books and picture-book illustrations from around the world. In addition to underscoring the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books and their art form, The Carle offers educational programs that provide a foundation for arts integration and literacy.

Eric Carle and his wife, the late Barbara Carle, co-founded the Museum in November 2002. Carle is 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 more than 750,000 visitors, including 50,000 schoolchildren. The Carle cares for more than 11,000 objects, including 7,300 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 schoolchildren. 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 Carle reopened to the public on August 1st. During the COVID-19 closures, the Museum offered digital resources, including art activities, book recommendations, collections videos, and virtual professional development and workshops for online visitors. The Carle has created two online exhibitions: Art in Place: Social Distancing in the Studio and Now & Then Contemporary Illustrators and Their Childhood Heroes.

Learn more at and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @CarleMuseum.

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