Creep through tall grass, weave a spider web and more at the new hands-on exhibit at the Long Island Children’s Museum in Uniondale, called “Very Eric Carle: A Very Hungry, Quiet, Lonely, Clumsy, Busy Exhibit.”
The activities are indoors — but the exhibit is all about the outdoor world created by Carle in “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and the subsequent children’s books in his “Very” series: “The Very Busy Spider,” “The Very Clumsy Click Beetle,” “The Very Lonely Firefly” and "The Very Quiet Cricket.”
Carle wrote and illustrated the book that started it all in 1969. “A lot of parents remember this book being read to them,” says Maureen Mangan, museum communications director. The picture book has sold more than 50 million copies since, which makes the exhibit nostalgic for adults as well as relatable for children today, Mangan, says.
Here are six things to do at the traveling exhibit, which was created by the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh in conjunction with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Massachusetts and will be on Long Island through May 12. The exhibit is included with museum admission:
Journey through ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’
Visitors enter by walking through the larger-than-life pages of the book. The items the caterpillar chooses to eat — a strawberry, a pickle, a piece of cake — can make kids think about what they would eat if they were a hungry caterpillar.
“I would eat mostly grass. I would like to stay in shape,” says Jassuan Escoto, 8, a Westbury third-grader who was at the exhibit during a recent school field trip.
Weave a web at the weaving wall
Kids can use colorful pieces of cloth to embellish the spider’s web. Each of Carle’s books has a message for kids. “I have two young kids. They love 'The Very Busy Spider,' ” says Ashley Cecchini, a teacher at Westbury’s Park Avenue School. “For that one, it’s to keep going; when you have a goal or something you want to do, just stay focused.”
Wade through an alley of grass
“At ‘The Very Quiet Cricket,’ they can nestle through some of the grass and investigate some of the environment where the cricket lives with his other friends,” says Ashley Niver, the museum's director of education. That was Jassuan’s favorite part of the exhibit, he says: “It felt like we were in the jungle.”
Help right 'The Very Clumsy Click Beetle'
Kids “type” on the wooden keys of the Click Beetle piano to help flip the beetle, who has fallen onto his back, right-side-up again.
Make your own collage art
“In the studio space you can learn a little bit more about Eric Carle and his process when he was creating his artwork,” Niver says. Parents and children can recreate Carle’s characters and create their own storylines, she says.
Get cozy with an Eric Carle book
There’s a book nook with chairs and a puzzle area on the floor. “You can cuddle up with your child and enjoy some of the ‘Very' stories together,” Niver says. “There’s an area where you can gather on the floor with your children to build these lovely three-dimensional puzzles of the characters in the story.”
'Very Eric Carle: A Very Hungry, Quiet, Lonely, Clumsy, Busy Exhibit'
WHEN | WHERE Through May 12 at the Long Island Children's Museum, 11 Davis Ave., Uniondale
COST Included with museum admission of $17 per person, babies younger than 1 are free. Check website for planned special events including “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” Day on March 20
MORE INFO 516-224-5800, licm.org