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Carnegie exhibition celebrates 100 years of childhood illustrations
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Beloved children's literature characters like the Cat in the Hat are part of the Carnegie's new exhibit. - photo by Photo Contributed

The new exhibition Childhood Classics: 100 Years of Original Illustration from the Art Kandy Collection will premiere at the Carnegie Arts Center on Sunday.  On view from Sept. 18 through Jan. 15, 2017, this is the first stop in a national tour for this important private collection of illustration art.

Children’s books have always had a dual role. First, they are created to educate and entertain young readers – to start them off on a lifetime of reading enrichment and enjoyment. Second, they are historical touchstones, reflecting and visualizing the history and the values of the era they are written in. This exhibition presents the illustrations and the illustrators that have been bringing stories to life for generations of children.

With original works included by more than 50 artists from 75 books, the exhibition explores the history of children’s book illustration during the last 100 years. Examples range from turn-of-the-century pen and ink drawings by Sarah Noble Ives for editions of "Mother Goose" to the most popular works of today, including the digital creations of Mo Willems ("Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus"). The exhibition features the unique and original art of Dr. Seuss, the iconic "Wild Things" of Maurice Sendak, and the popular Little Golden Books which have been a staple in many American homes since the 1940s.

Twenty-one of the artists included in the show have been recipients of Caldecott Medal awards and honors. Among the many well-known classic illustrators featured are Garth Williams, Rosemary Wells, Richard Scarry, Arnold Lobel, Tomie dePaola, and Hilary Knight; other more recently celebrated illustrators include Chris Van Allsburg, Gerald McDermott, Chris Raschka, Jerry Pinkney, and David Shannon. Beloved characters of literature include Babar, Eloise, Madeline, the Cat in the Hat, Stuart Little, and Dick & Jane.

“Visitors of all ages will find old friends and new favorites in these great works of art,” says Lisa McDermott, Director of the Carnegie Arts Center. “It is not surprising that many of these books were part of my early life; they were enjoyed by my child and his cousins, who are now passing them on to their children.

Wonderful illustrations like these create the kind of engagement that can turn books into a passion for young readers.”

The exhibition coincides with the centennial year of the Carnegie Arts Center’s original building, which was the community’s public library from 1916-1968.

“We are excited to host an exhibition that brings together the history of this landmark building and the essential role it played in the lives of many generations of Turlock’s residents,” notes McDermott. “Nothing is a better connection to the library’s history than a show about the art of children’s literature.”

The exhibition is open to the public Wednesday – Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. at 250 N. Broadway, in Turlock. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors and free for Carnegie members and children 12 and under.