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The Artist Who Taught Us to Draw Animals

Opening today at the Worcester Art Museum (55 Salisbury St., Worcester, MA) is the first comprehensive retrospective of influential artist Ed Emberley, one of the most prolific drawing teachers and illustrators of children’s literature. Among his most notable works are the Caldecott honored One Wide River to Cross (1965), the Caldecott Medal-winning Drummer Hoff (1967), and the bestselling Go Away, Big Green Monster (1992). He also created the teaching book Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals (1970), which launched a series and remains one of the bestselling books of its kind.

Ed Emberley’s “Drawing Book of Animals” (cover), 1970.

Mockup pages for Ed Emberley’s “Drawing Book of Animals,” 1970.

Mockup pages for Ed Emberley’s “Drawing Book of Animals,” 1970.

“KAHBAHBLOOOM: The Art and Storytelling of Ed Emberley” draws on the Massachusetts-based artist’s personal archive of original hand-drawn sketches, woodblock prints, final proofs, and first-edition books to survey Emberley’s career and examine his influence on generations of readers and nascent artists. The exhibition opens Nov. 16 and will run through April 9, 2017, and is curated by artist, writer and historian Caleb Neelon, in partnership with the museum’s Audience Engagement Division.

“The Wizard of Op” (cover), written and illustrated by Ed Emberley, 1975.

“Ed Emberley’s ABC” (cover), 1978.

“Cock-A-Doodle-Doo” cover.

“KAHBAHBLOOM” woodblock print for production of “Drummer Hoff,” written and illustrated by Ed Emberley, 1967.

Reflecting Emberley’s decades of work, “KAHBAHBLOOOM” will be an interactive exhibition for intergenerational audiences—parents and grandparents who may have enjoyed his books when they were kids, and a current generation of young readers and artists who continue to learn from him. “KAHBAHBLOOOM” will be organized into sections that represent the primary media and methods of Emberley’s work as a picture-book artist, including over 100 works of art from Emberley’s own archive, and the largest collection of Ed Emberley’s 100+ books ever assembled for display.

“Drummer Hoff” (cover), 1967, a Caldecott Medal book.

“Simons Song” woodblock.

“Simons Song” woodblock.

“Go Away Big Green Monster” (cover), written and illustrated by Ed Emberley, 1992.

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