Harriet the Spy Turns 50!

After surviving early library bans; continues to inspire critical thinking, writing and observation skills in children. 

Now through November 30, 2014, the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst invites you to a special exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of author and illustrator Louise Fitzhugh’s 1964 book Harriet the Spy.  The exhibition will feature a selection of original drawings from both Harriet the Spy and its sequel, The Long Secret.  Eleven year old Harriet, the only child of wealthy New York socialites, wants to be a writer, and spends her afternoons secretly observing her friends and neighbors and recording her observations in a notebook.  The book helps readers explore themes of class, gender, and friendship in the 1960’s.

Harriet the Spy is now widely regarded as a classic children’s story – even more well-known and well-loved following its reincarnation as the 1996 film of the same name starring a young Michelle Trachtenberg – but, interestingly enough, when the book was first published in the mid-sixties, it received a good deal of controversy and was even banned by some libraries!  Compared with other children’s and young adult book characters at the time, Fitzhugh’s curious, independent, impatient, and tomboyish young protagonist challenged dominant social ideas about how children, girls in particular, could and should behave.  Many reviewers have since noted, though, that it is precisely Harriet’s fierce independence and desire to understand other people through observation that endears her to readers of all ages.  Her “bad” behavior is relatable, and a refreshingly honest portrayal of childhood, while her struggle to stay true to herself and her ideas in a world that doesn’t understand or appreciate deviance from the norm resonates deeply with readers on their own path to self-discovery. Read the rest of this entry »

The Carle Commemorates Life and Works of Bernard Waber

The Carle Commemorates Life and Works
of Author/Illustrator, Bernard Waber
Tuesday, March 18 through Sunday, June 8, 2014

Last May, children and adults alike mourned the passing of beloved children’s book author and illustrator Bernard Waber. Perhaps best known for his depictions of the adventures of Lyle the crocodile, Waber wrote, illustrated, and published (through Houghton Mifflin) over thirty books over the course of his career.

This spring, Houghton Mifflin and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art have collaborated to put on a display of Waber’s work: both well-known images from his books, plus preliminary sketches and source material and even some of his earlier art from his time as a designer for Condé Nast and Time, Inc. Curated by Leonard S. Marcus, an expert on children’s literature, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and Friends: The Art of Bernard Waber will be on view from March 18 through June 8, 2014. The exhibition will be accompanied by a 40-page catalog featuring Bernard Waber’s last interview…  Read the rest of this entry »

Musical and Visual Interpretations of Classic Childrens’ Poems at The Carle

Leave Your Sleep 
by Natalie Merchant & Barbara McClintock
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
Nov 26, 2013 — May 4, 2014

The album Leave Your Sleep, which Merchant spent five years researching and writing, originated from a collection of poems — from such notable poets as E.E. Cummings, Ogden Nash, and Edward Lear — that come alive through an eclectic blend of styles, from folk to jazz to R&B to Celtic influence.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art welcomes families to a special showcase of the art and collaborative work that resulted in the picture book Leave Your Sleep by Natalie Merchant, illustrated by Barbara McClintock. The book, published in 2012, followed the release of Merchant’s very successful double album of the same name two years prior. She transformed a selection of classic children’s poetry from poets including Ogden Nash, Edward Lear, and E.E. Cummings into a collection of original songs that comprise an eclectic blend of styles from folk to jazz to R&B to Celtic.

Merchant’s collaboration with McClintock is an attempt to make these poems and ideas even more accessible and exciting to kids: beautifully rendered in watercolors, a “parade of witches and fearless girls, blind men and elephants, giants and sailors” play out the ideas and emotions that the music evokes. “My hope is that this collaborative book of poems, pictures and music will provide many enchanted hours to children eager for beauty and the sort of adventure that happens between the pages of a book and the words of a song,” says Merchant.

Read the rest of this entry »

Eric Carle Museum Cast a Call for Caterpillar Sculptures

Artists of All Ages are Invited to Participate in Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Arts Call of Caterpillar Sculptures!

Celebrate the beloved and iconic caterpillar – as well at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art’s 10th anniversary – by building your very own caterpillar sculpture out of recycle and/or found materials. (Photo credit: Eric Carle Museum)

Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a family favorite all around the world – over 33 million copies have been sold since it was first published, and it has been translated into over 50 languages!  The little green caterpillar has munched its way through the pages of the books and into the hearts of multiple generations.  The story provides Eric Carle’s signature illustrations and a silly story, plus it gives young children an age-appropriate first taste of nature education.  It is rare to find a developmentally appropriate nature-related book for young children, but Carle’s classic tale beautifully weaves fantasy and reality together, teaching young children about the life cycle of a caterpillar while still managing to include bright illustrations and fun details.

 Celebrate the beloved and iconic caterpillar – as well at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art’s 10th anniversary – by building your very own caterpillar sculpture!  The Carle has put out an open Call for Caterpillars of all kinds to be submitted for use in the museum’s Children’s Book Festival on June 8, 2013 (and for the chance to receive an original doodle by Eric Carle!).

Photos of the submitted pieces will be shown during the festival, and three random entries will be shown in their three-dimensional original form in the museum’s galleries.  Museum staff ask that caterpillars be created using recycled and/or found materials, such as plastic bottles, wood, metal bottle caps, and packing materials.

Pieces should be submitted in photo form, and can be created by caterpillar-enthusiasts of all ages!  Visit the museum’s website for more information on submissions and the festival itself (www.carlemuseum.org).  All submissions are due by May 31st.  Happy upcycling!

Latino Folk Tales at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Arts

Latino Folk Tales:
Cuentos Populares
Art by Latino Artists
March 26 through June 9, 2013
Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Arts in Amherst

Folk tale literature throughout the world encompasses both magic and symbolism, comprised in stories of saints, gods, myths, and legends. The motifs, characters and plots are often ancient in origin and initially passed by word of mouth. These repeated and recorded stories transcend various national and cultural boundaries. Multiple influences that reach back through the centuries can be discovered in the stories and art in this exhibition, which will open March 26 and run through June 9, 2013.

Even though the world is filled with hundreds of cultures, each sharing unique traditions and language, folk tales remain a constant around the globe. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA is showing an exhibit filled with illustrations from Latino folktales published for children. Latino Folk Tales: Cuentos Populares Art by Latino Artists by Latino Artists contains over 60 works of art from twelve different Latino artists and illustrators, showcasing a variety of artistic styles and folktales whose roots can be traced from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and other Spanish-speaking parts of the world to ancient day Persia, India, and China (the oldest version of Cinderella, for example, has been traced back to as long ago as 850 AD!).

The exhibit, which opens on March 26th, 2013, presents an opportunity for families to view and learn about the showcased artwork and to find the story thread that weaves not only in these images but also in folk stories found in other cultures too. When visiting the exhibit, discuss how each piece conveys an important part of the story it illustrates. Students can learn about the art of illustration by pairing the images to familiar stories – think about the clues given in each piece that help you to link it to a common folktale!

Cuentos Populares will be shown through June 9th, 2013. The Carle is open Tuesday-Friday from 10am-4pm, Saturday from 10am-5pm, and Sunday from 12noon-5pm. For more information, call the museum at 413-658-1105. www.carlemuseum.org

Related Upcoming Programing at The Carle:

CactusHead Puppets presents: The Tale of Juan Bobo
Wednesday, April 17 – Saturday, April 20 (11am & 2pm)
Meet Juan Bobo! He always tries to do the right thing, but often makes mistakes. For Juan even the smallest task can lead to the silliest of results. But can Juan Bobo’s seemingly foolish actions end up saving the day? Join CactusHead Puppets as they bring this classic Puerto Rican folktale to life and decide for yourself. (>$)

Five-College Musicians at The Carle
Saturday, April 20 (1pm)
Celebrate the Museum’s exhibition, Latino Folk Tales: Cuentos Populares, with a reading with musical accompaniment of Munro Leaf’s The Story of Ferdinand followed by a musical medley of Latin American songs. ($)

Elska Comes to Western MA! Win Tickets!

Win a package of tickets and museum passes for a family of four…

Elska Performs in Amherst
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
Sunday, October 21st @ 1pm

Hilltown Families was delighted by Elska’s performance at Kindiefest in Brooklyn, NY this year. We’re excited to announce her debut performance in Western MA on Sunday, Oct 21st in Amherst! Elska’s live performance is both sophisticated and whimsical, a winning combination for families!  Deadline to enter to win a family package of tickets and museum passes is 10/17 by 11:59pm.

Called “the next big thing in toddler entertainment” by Red Tricycle New York, Elska brings her live show to a very special performance at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst on Sunday, October 21st at 1pm… and Hilltown Families has two family 4-pack of tickets and two family passes to the museum to giveaway!

Elska’s performance at the museum is part of her tour to support her critically-acclaimed new album Middle of Nowhere which has just received Parents’ Choice Foundation and NAPPA Awards! Details on how to enter to win are below.  Deadline to enter: 10/17 by 11:59pm (EST).

ABOUT ELSKA

Who is Elska and why is she blowing the minds of concert-goers and promoters alike? Elska is the imaginary character performed by Brooklyn-based singer/actress Shelley Wollert. The character of Elska is a modern pioneer who discovers a newly formed volcanic island off the coast of Iceland where she lives a life of beauty and wonder amongst a cast of unusual friends, including a pensive Winter Bear, a very friendly Goobler, a mysterious Arctic Fox and a vast colony of Lost Socks.

In the live show, Elska has traveled from her amazing island all the way to the museum to tell her story. A blend of theatre, storytelling and musical performance, Elska whisks away children and families on a musical tour of her Arctic home and introduces them to the island’s wonderful inhabitants.

To create Elska and her fictional world, Wollert worked closely with New York City-based record producer Allen Farmelo (The Cinematic Orchestra, Mikael Jorgensson/Wilco). Combining the whimsy of Winnie the Pooh and the otherworldliness of Dr. Seuss, Farmelo and Wollert very intentionally set out to create a new classic in children’s music and entertainment. – www.islandofelska.com

HOW TO WIN

We’re giving away two packages (valued at $50 each) of tickets and museum passes! Your chance win a family 4-pack of tickets and family pass to the museum to see Elska at the Eric Carle Museum on Sunday, October 21st at 1pm in Amherst, MA is easy & simple! To enter to win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES KEEPS YOU CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY   below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 17th, 2012 at 11:59pm (EST).

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Arts is located at 125 West Bay Road in Amherst, MA. Admission to the museum is $9/Adults, $6/Youth, $22.50/Family. Tickets to Elska are $7 and may be purchased in advance at the Museum Admissions Desk or by calling 413-658-1126. Find out more about the museum at www.carlemuseum.org.

The Story of Negro League Baseball at the Eric Carle Museum

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball
At the Eric Carle Museum on Feb 7th – June 10th, 2012

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is opening its latest exhibit,“We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball,” on Feb 7th and running through June 10th, 2012.  The exhibit features oil paintings by Kadir Nelson, which were created to illustrate a book of the same name.  The intention of the book is to preserve the history of the Negro League and to offer information in a format that is easily accessible.  Nelson conducted huge amounts of research while creating his paintings- he interviewed former Negro League players, searched through old photographs, collected memorabilia, and even tried on and took photographs in old league uniforms.  His images accurately capture the spirit of the league.  The players faced intense racial discrimination and social inequalities, and were forced to take lower salaries than their white equivalents.  Despite this, they played on, and the determination and dedication that created the spirit of the league is conveyed by the paintings.

A visit to the exhibit can be not only a study of art but a study of American cultural history- it would fit well with a look at the civil rights movement or a discussion or unit on racial inequality.  For more information, call the Eric Carle Museum at 413-658-1100 or visit carlemuseum.org.

Dancers & Puppets Bring Picture Books to Life in Amherst

Picture Book Theatre Performs at The Carle in November

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art presents Picture Book Theatre featuring Eric Carle’s “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” said the Sloth and Rooster’s Off To See The World, Saturdays, November 5, 12, 19, 26 and Friday, November 25 with 45-minutes performances at 2pm & 3pm.

Eric Carle’s classic children’s books are coming to life this month!

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is hosting a series of puppet shows based on various Eric Carle stories throughout November.  The first of the shows, “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly Said the Sloth,” is set to music created by a local composer and includes many local puppeteers!  Families will receive a copy of the book to read and follow along with while they watch.

The second show performed is “Rooster’s Off to See the World,” which features local dancers from the Amherst Ballet.

There will be multiple performances of each throughout the month.  More information is available at www.carlemuseum.org.

Ticket Giveaway: Deedle Deedle Dees at The Carle

Win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see…

Deedle Deedle Dees
A Family Concert at The Eric Carle Museum
Saturday, Oct 29th @ 1pm

Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see The Deedle Deedle Dees at the Eric Carle Museum on Saturday, Oct 29th along with their new CD, "Strange Dees, Indeed" Deadline to enter to win: Saturday, Oct 22nd @ 7pm.

Lloyd Miller, lead singer for The Deedle Deedle Dees, a Brooklyn based educational rock band, was our guest DJ this week on the Hilltown Family Variety Show. You can catch Lloyd live this month in Western MA as The Deedle Deedle Dees return to the Pioneer Valley for a pre-Halloween family concert at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Arts in Amherst, MA on October 29th at 1pm for the release of their newest album, Strange Dees, Indeed… and Hilltown Families has a family 4-pack of free tickets and a copy of their new CD to giveaway to one lucky family! Details on how to enter to win are below:

ABOUT THE DEEDLE DEEDLE DEES

The Deedle Deedle Dees are four teachers and musicians who were raised on Schoolhouse Rock, the Pixies, the Muppets and Tom Waits. With an approach unique to children’s music, The Dees are not content to offer fluffy-happy tunes. Each catchy piece is based upon something from history, science and folklore, and the Dees offer a fresh perspective even on the most familiar people and places.

Strange Dees, Indeed opens with a practical exploration of the Hindu philosophy of Ahimsa (“no harm” in Sanskrit), with the acknowledgment that even grownups have a hard time staying Gandhi-cool in the face of aggression. Another song follows the famous scientist Marie Curie as she smuggles radium in her suitcase. Every song tells a story or paints a picture, whether it be Sojourner Truth singing to a hostile crowd on a moonlit mountaintop, or Sacagawea seeing the ocean for the first time with her baby on her back, or an eerie view of the detritus at Dead Horse Bay. In “a song for Abigail Adams,” John Adams sends an indie-rock love letter to his wife. And one of the Dees’ grandmothers remembers what it was like to bump into NYC Mayor LaGuardia’s big belly back in the day.

The Deedle Deedle Dees’ two previous family music CDs, Freedom in a Box (2007) and American History+ Rock and Roll = The Deedle Deedle Dees (2009), won national acclaim. The Dees perform interactive, educational shows throughout the year at schools, libraries, theaters, parks and other family venues. They also develop original songs and shows based on curriculum via in-class workshops, long-term residencies, and other cooperative programs with schools. www.deedledeedledees.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see The Deedle Deedle Dees on Saturday, October 29th at 1pm at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA, along with a copy of their newest CD, Strange Dees, Indeed, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!

To enter to win simply:

  1. CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below;
  2. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES CONNECTS YOUR FAMILY WITH LOCAL HISTORY HERE IN WESTERN MA below (one entry per household); and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE), Must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL IN THE EMAIL FIELD BELOW (we never share your email address with a third party).
  6. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Saturday, 10/22/11 @ 7pm (EST).

Red Elephant Comes to Amherst

Mo Willems’ The Red Elephant

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA welcomed The Red Elephant by Western MA author/illustrator Mo Willems this past Saturday on the Museum’s terrace. More than 400 folks attended the installation of this 1,500 pound pachyderm sculpture.

“I began my career making small wire sculptures which somehow led to a life as a children’s book maker,” says Willems, “So the opportunity of combining my two passions and placing a large sculpture at a picture book museum is too awesome to pass up.”

Check out Mo’s digital journal of his progress from inception to installation of The Red Elephant.

This newest installation at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art can act as a fun catalyst for young students in their studies of art, reading and science. Mo has several teachers’ guides and event kits available on his website in pdf format.  His newest kit is Elephant & Piggie Event Kit is from his early reader series, Elephant and Piggie.  Other event kits offered on his web site include Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed and The Pigeon Wants a Puppy!

Looking for curriculum on elephants?  The Elephant Sanctuary has two units for grades K-3 and grades 4-8 which include integrated areas of study in each unit (social studies, literature, science and math).
Read the rest of this entry »

Giveaway: 5 Annual Family Memberships to 5 Western Mass Museums!

At the turn of the year, Hilltown Families will be turning five years old … and we will be celebrating all year long! We started off our celebration by offering 5 Gifts Locally Handmade by Hilltown Mompreneurs (see who won here).

Over the years, Hilltown Families has had the great pleasure of letting families throughout the region know about all of the wonderful events happening at the plethora of world class museums we have access to here in Western Massachusetts.

We are continuing our 5 year celebration with the Berkshire Museum, The Eric Carle Museum, Historic Deerfield, MASS MoCA and Springfield Museums! These 5 Western Massachusetts Museums have joined our party and are offering our readers an annual family membership! One very, very lucky family will win a family membership to all five of these local cultural gems! How wicked awesome is that!? It’s our birthday, but you get the presents!

Each week on our list of Weekly Suggested Events, we share family and community activities offered by these local gems, along with educational opportunities, performances and camps. We’ve featured many stellar museum exhibits including:  The Art of the Brick at the Springfield Museum;  Color Forms I: Pink and Blue Projects at KidSpace at MASS MoCA; and Armed & Dangerous: Art of the Arsenal at the Berkshire Museum.

Contributing writer Karen Bayne has shared her family day visits to Historic DeerfieldSpringfield Museums, and the Berkshire Musuem — and our outings have always been equally enjoyable: like our visit to Historic Deerfield for A Cozy Winter DayMidwinter Magic puppet show at the Springfield Museum; and Constant Wonder’s educational performance Wings of a Feather at the Eric Carle Museum.

The Berkshire Museum continues to delight us with their activities and exhibits. We discovered  truly amazing amphibians at the exhibit Frogs: A Chorus of Color; delighted in the Berkshire Children’s Theater’s performance of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid in the auditorium;  enjoyed soul food and a performance of Hip-Hop, African and modern dances at their Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday party; and dressed up and attended a fabulously kitchy retro gala to celebrate the exhibit, Kid Stuff: Great Toys from Our Childhood.

Over the years we’ve also shared ways to participate at the Eric Carle Museum, including the Be Kind to Animals Week contest and an invitation to create a butterfly for their Batches of Butterflies community display. And we’ve offered several opportunities to win tickets to family concerts hosted in their auditorium, including Gustafer Yellowgold, Princess Katie & Racer Steve, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, and Elizabeth Mitchell.

The educational opportunities with our local museums are constant. Historic Deerfield has hosted a Homeschool Harvest Day and a historic look at chocolate during their American Heritage Chocolate Celebration.  The Springfield Museum has offered many opportunities to learn a bit of American history, including a reading of  Frederick Douglass Speech and an Underground Railroad Lecture.  And the Berkshire Museum has many programs for homeschool educators and teachers and has participated in the citizen science project, Firefly Watch!

To read more about how you can make your family visit fun to one of our local museums read the post, The Wonderment of Museums.

Deadline to enter to win an annual family membership to all 5 museums: Monday, January 3rd, 2011 by 7pm (EST).  Find out more about these museums below and the benefits of membership.

DISCOVER MORE ABOUT THESE LOCAL TREASURES

MASS MoCA

MASS MoCA is located at 87 Marshal St. (North Adams). Since opening in 1999 in North Adams MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) has become one of the world’s premier centers for making and showing the best art of our time, exhibiting large-scale and complex installations by many of the most important artists of today. An essential and integral part of MASS MoCA’s mission are the more than 75 performances staged year-round, including popular music, contemporary dance, alternative cabaret, world music dance parties, outdoor silent films with live music, documentaries, and avant-garde theater. (413) 662-2111 www.massmoca.org

Benefits of a family membership:  MASS MoCA is offering a free family membership ($90 value), which gives inside access to the best of contemporary art and performance. Members enjoy exclusive benefits, including free gallery admission, invitations to exhibition openings, opportunities to meet artists and performers, and discounts at MASS MoCA concerts, films, and live theater; Hardware: The MASS MoCA Store; The Porches Inn; and the Lickety Split Cafe.

BERKSHIRE MUSEUM

The Berkshire Museums is located at 39 South St. (Pittsfield, MA). At the Berkshire Museum, there’s something for everyone. The museum offers a unique blend of exhibitions, galleries, and attractions for families of all ages. See exhibitions, fine art, and sculpture from around the world. Pet a live starfish in their touch tank and discover their 20 aquarium tanks and assorted terrariums. Be amazed at their collection of artifacts from Native American cultures and ancient cultures. Marvel at the technology that awaits in the new Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation. And their Natural Science Galleries incorporate hundreds of rocks, minerals, fossils, and animal specimens into interactive exhibits, serving visitors of all ages and learning styles with hands-on experiences. (413) 443-7171 www.berkshiremuseum.org

Benefits of a family membership:  The Berkshire Museum is offering a free annual family/household membership ($75 value). Annual membership benefits include: unlimited free admission to 1st floor galleries and Aquarium; invitation to exhibition openings; discounts on Museum programs (including performances, camps & lectures); reduced tickets to Little Cinema; discount on Museum Store purchases; and free admission to 260+ museums participating in the ASTC Passport Program worldwide.

HISTORIC DEERFIELD

Historic Deerfield is located at 80 Old Main St. (Deerfield, MA). Historic Deerfield, an authentic New England experience, is a great place for families to learn about early American Life. Their museums and programs provide today’s audiences with experiences that create an understanding and appreciation of New England’s historic villages and countryside. Explore 11 museum houses with trained guides, world- class collections of antiques, special exhibitions, and an outdoor garden and meadow walk. Experience early American life from the 1704 Deerfield Raid and the French and Indian War, to the American Revolution and the first decades of the new Republic. Enjoy family programs, hands-on activities, special events, distinctive shopping, and tavern lunch—all in a 330-year-old village. (413) 774-5581www.historic-deerfield.org

Benefits of a family membership:  The Historic Deerfield is offering a free annual family membership ($60 value). The benefits of a family membership includes: free, unlimited admission to all museum houses; a subscription to Historic Deerfield; Special advance notices and member discount information for trips, classes and workshops; Free admission to all of their Hands-On History family programs; Discounts at the Museum Store and Deerfield Inn.

THE ERIC CARLE MUSEUM OF PICTURE BOOK ART

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, located at 125 West Bay Rd. (Amherst, MA), is a stunning, 40,000 square-foot facility in the heart of Western MA, is loved by families, art aficionados and book lovers alike. The Carle houses three Galleries with rotating exhibits of picture book art from around the world, and a permanent collection including works by artists. A hands-on Art Studio allows visitors to create their own masterpiece any time The Carle is open. The Auditorium hosts regular live performances, films, lectures, and guest appearances by renowned authors and illustrators. The comfortable Reading Library is the perfect spot for Storytime. The Museum Shop is stocked with unique gifts and a beautiful array of picture books. (413) 658-1100. www.carlemuseum.org

Benefits of a family membership: The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is offering a family membership ($65 value).  Benefits of membership includes free, unlimited admission for two adults plus up to four children. Enrollment of up to four children in the Caterpillar Club which includes: A Certificate of Membership with each child’s name. Invitations to Members-Only events. Subscription to the Museum Newsletter, Event Calendar, E-newsletter, 15% discount in the Museum Shop (30% during the annual holiday sale), Advance notice and discounts on various Museum events including classes, workshops, performances, films, and lectures. Free museum exhibition poster.

SPRINGFIELD MUSEUMS

Springfield Museums, located at 21 Edwards St. (Springfield, MA). A welcome committee of larger-than-life Dr. Seuss characters greets you at New England’s own “mini Smithsonian” – four outstanding museums filled with science, art and history, plus the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden. Encounter a life-size Tyrannosaurus rex in Dinosaur Hall, blast off to new worlds in the planetarium, take a safari through Africa, play among statues of Dr. Seuss’s most beloved characters, meet some critters in the live animal center, see Springfield-built antique cars and Indian Motocycles, enjoy hands-on activities in the Art Discovery Center, and much more. Picnic on the beautiful Quadrangle green in nice weather. One admission fee. Free onsite parking. Museum Store. (413) 263-6800 www.springfieldmuseums.org

Benefits of a family membership:  Springfield Museums is offering a household membership ($75 value) for all 5 of their museums. Become a member at the Household level and enjoy unlimited free admission to all museums and the planetarium for two adults and all children. Get discounts on Museum School classes, birthday parties, and Museum Store purchases. Receive invitations to members-only events. Get the museum event calendar, course and travel catalogue, and program flyers in your mailbox. Plus free admission to a host of other science and children’s museums nationwide.

HOW TO WIN:

Your chance to win annual family memberships to the Berkshire Museum, The Eric Carle Museum, Historic Deerfield, MASS MoCA and Springfield Museums is as easy as 1-2-3 (4-5)! To win simply:

  1. SHARE THIS PAGE ON FACEBOOK BY SELECTING “LIKE” BELOW
  2. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES HAS BENEFITTED YOUR FAMILY THESE PAST FIVE YEARS in the comment box below, and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town and state to be eligible. We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who participate and contact the winner via email.  So be sure to leave an
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL in the email field of the comment box (we never share your email address).

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! —  Deadline to enter to win is Monday, January 3rd, 2011 by 7pm (EST).  All five annual family memberships will be awarded to one family and issued separately from each participating museum.  If you have any questions, please contact us before entering to win at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

Ticket Giveaway: Family Concert with Gustafer Yellowgold @ The Carle

WIN A FAMILY 4-PACK OF FREE TICKETS:
Gustafer Yellowgold
Saturday, October 23rd, 2010
At the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA

Gustafer Yellowgold will be at the Eric Carle Museum on Saturday, October 23rd at 1pm. Deadline to enter to win a family 4-pack of free tickets is 10/20/10 @ 7pm (EST).

Hilltown Families and the Northampton Community Music Center have partnered up to offer a chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see Gustafer Yellowgold at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA on Saturday, October 23rd at 1pm. The proceeds from the concert go to benefit the Northampton Community Music Center.  Deadline to enter to win is 10/20/10. Find out how to enter to win below.

ABOUT GUSTAFER YELLOWGOLD

It’s been two years in the making and won’t be released until February, but families in Western Mass will have a sneak preview this month when the multimedia Gustafer Yellowgold’s Show comes to the Eric Carle Museum on Gustafer’s “Top of the Sock Tour.”

Gustafer Yellowgold’s Top of the Sock Tour heralds the release of the fourth in the series of award-winning Gustafer Yellowgold “musical moving storybooks,” Gustafer Yellowgold’s Infinity Sock, in which our hero from the sun journeys in search of the end of the universe’s longest sock. This fall’s shows will preview several story-songs from the new DVD/CD set, and Gustafer’s creator, illustrator/songwriter/musician Morgan Taylor, promises to include plenty of “Gustafer fan favorites” in the shows, too!

Hailed as one of today’s most original artists on the family music scene, Morgan Taylor was named “Best Kids’ Performer” by New York Magazine.  Taylor developed the Gustafer Yellowgold experience as equal parts pop rock concert and minimally animated movie, performing alongside a large screen displaying vividly colored animations with karaoke-style subtitles.  He’s dreamed up a whole world of catchy, original story-songs about Gustafer, a friendly creature who came to Earth from the sun and now lives out an explorer’s life in a slightly psychedelic version of the Minnesota woods.  Gustafer resides in a cottage with his menagerie of friends, including a pet eel, a tuxedo-wearing pterodactyl, and a dragon named Asparagus who inhabits the fireplace and loves corn on the cob. For recreation, Gustafer enjoys jumping on cake and, occasionally, punching cheese.

ABOUT THE NORTHAMPTON COMMUNITY MUSIC CENTER

The Northampton Community Music Center is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is “to foster the love and pursuit of music within the community through quality musical education, performances, and activities that are accessible to all.” NCMC’s talented 50+ faculty members offer a diverse range of musical programs to more than 750 participants a year—both adults and children—and bring concerts and other musical events to hundreds more in our surrounding communities, uniting people of all ages and backgrounds through the shared experience of music. NCMC is the only music school in Hampshire County that offers financial aid: no qualifying student has ever been denied scholarship.

This family concert a continuation in the Kids Concert Series sponsored in partnership by the Northampton Community Music Center, the Eric Carle Museum, and 93.9 The River.  The Eric Carle Museum is located at 125 West Bay Road in Amherst, MA. Admission is $6, with all proceeds benefiting the Scholarship Program at NCMC.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see Gustafer Yellowgold at the Eric Carle Museum on Saturday, October 23rd at 1pm in Amherst, MA, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. HELP CO-CREATE A COMMUNITY PLAYLIST AND RECOMMEND A SONG BELOW (one entry per family) and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  5. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 10/20/10 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go! Tickets are $6 and available at 12:30pm the day of the show.  No advance reservations. – For more information about the Northampton Community Music Center, call 585-0001.

Ticket Giveaway: Family Concert with Princess Katie & Racer Steve @ The Carle

WIN A FAMILY 4-PACK OF FREE TICKETS:
Princess Katie & Racer Steve
Saturday, August 7th, 2010
At the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA

Princess Katie & fan. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Hilltown Families and the Northampton Community Music Center have partnered up to offer a chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see Princess Katie & Racer Steve at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA on Saturday, August 7th at 1pm. The proceeds from the concert go to benefit the Northampton Community Music Center.  Deadline to enter to win is 08/04/10. Find out how to enter to win below.

ABOUT PRINCESS KATIE & RACER STEVE

“Don’t let the name fool you, this Manhattan-based musical duo (and married couple) stirs up some seriously rockin’ music, ranging from alt-pop to country to reggae, all with a positive message.” (Publishers Weekly)

In 2008, Hilltown Families and Spare the Rock co-present Princess Katie & Racer Steve at Lyman Hall in Northampton, MA.  PK&RS had the kids rockin’ out and doing the tango, with the parents laughing and joining in … Two years and two albums later, they’re returning to the Pioneer Valley, and this time to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Arts, sponsored in partnership by the Northampton Community Music Center, the Eric Carle Museum, and 93.9 The River!

Princess Katie & Racer Steve have recently released a new album titled Tiny Cool, which has been described as “a book you cannot put down – in music form!” They create high energy, positive and upbeat music that both kids and parents alike can enjoy.

Spontaneity and surprise are key to PK&RS shows. You never know what they’ll dream up. Princess Katie (aka Katie O’Sullivan) says, “I just can’t seem to do a show unless it’s spectacular for the kids!”

“Alternative rock-loving parents will dig how much Katie sounds like Natalie Merchant (only much more chipper), and the high-spirited high jinks of Racer Steve will keep their tots in stitches.” (FamilyFun magazine)

Find out more about Princess Katie and Racer Steve at www.princessracer.com.

ABOUT THE NORTHAMPTON COMMUNITY MUSIC CENTER

The Northampton Community Music Center is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is “to foster the love and pursuit of music within the community through quality musical education, performances, and activities that are accessible to all.” NCMC’s talented 50+ faculty members offer a diverse range of musical programs to more than 750 participants a year—both adults and children—and bring concerts and other musical events to hundreds more in our surrounding communities, uniting people of all ages and backgrounds through the shared experience of music. NCMC is the only music school in Hampshire County that offers financial aid: no qualifying student has ever been denied scholarship.

This family concert is the sixth concert in the Kids Concert Series sponsored in partnership by the Northampton Community Music Center, the Eric Carle Museum, and 93.9 The River.  The Eric Carle Museum is located at 125 West Bay Road in Amherst, MA. Admission is $6, with all proceeds benefiting the Scholarship Program at NCMC.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see Princess Katie & Racer Steve at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. POST A COMMENT BELOW (one entry per family) and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  5. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 08/04//10 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go! Tickets are $6 and available at 12:30pm the day of the show.  No advance reservations. – For more information about the Northampton Community Music Center, call 585-0001.

Ticket Giveaway: Family Concert with Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem @ The Carle

WIN A FAMILY 4-PACK OF FREE TICKETS:
Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem
Saturday, June 19th, 2010
At the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA

The music style of Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem is described by the Boston Globe as “neo old-timey with cosmopolitan splashes of contemporary pop and jazz.” - Your family will LOVE them!

Hilltown Families and the Northampton Community Music Center have partnered up to offer a chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA on Saturday, June 19th at 1pm. The proceeds from the concert go to benefit the Northampton Community Music Center!  Deadline to enter to win is 06/16/10. Find out how to enter to win below.

ABOUT RANI ARBO & DAISY MAYHEM

Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem is a rootsy, Americana-style string band of four musicians — all parents — who have played and toured together for 10 years. Their grooves are deep, their four-part harmonies are rich, and their adventurous, eclectic song selection serves their debut family CD Ranky Tanky well. Family music is a new endeavor for the band, but they have longstanding reputation for performances that are, as the Boston Globe put it, “playful and profound. Ranky Tanky sticks with that equation: it’s uplifting, danceable, playful, sometimes silly, sometimes wistful, and never sarcastic. Rani Arbo fires up the fiddle; Anand Nayak plays electric and acoustic guitars; Andrew Kinsy is on upright acoustic bass (and ukulele and banjo), and Scott Kessel pilots the Drumship Enterprise, a percussion rig made from cardboard boxes, tin cans, water jugs, and a vinyl suitcase. Together, they create a joyful, musical fusion of sounds both old and new — and a great soundtrack for family time.

ABOUT THE NORTHAMPTON COMMUNITY MUSIC CENTER

The Northampton Community Music Center is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is “to foster the love and pursuit of music within the community through quality musical education, performances, and activities that are accessible to all.” NCMC’s talented 50+ faculty members offer a diverse range of musical programs to more than 750 participants a year—both adults and children—and bring concerts and other musical events to hundreds more in our surrounding communities, uniting people of all ages and backgrounds through the shared experience of music. NCMC is the only music school in Hampshire County that offers financial aid: no qualifying student has ever been denied scholarship.

This family concert is the fifth concert in the Kids Concert Series sponsored in partnership by the Northampton Community Music Center, the Eric Carle Museum, and 93.9 The River.  The Eric Carle Museum is located at 125 West Bay Road in Amherst, MA. Admission is $6, with all proceeds benefitting the Scholarship Program at NCMC.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see Rani Arbos & daisy mayhem at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. POST A COMMENT BELOW (one entry per family) and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  5. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 06/16/10 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go! Tickets are $6 and available at 12:30pm the day of the show.  No advance reservations. – For more information about the Northampton Community Music Center, call 585-0001.

Museum Pass Giveaway: The Carle’s 3rd Annual Children’s Book Festival

The Carle’s 3rd Annual Children’s Book Festival
Celebrates Dogs in Children’s Literature

“This event allows a unique face-to-face experience for children’s literature fans and an opportunity for our artists to celebrate their work in a wonderfully festive venue,” said author and illustrator Diane deGroat, one of the event organizers.

Over the next couple of weekends, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art will play host to two great family activities. This coming Saturday, June 12th is The Carle’s 3rd Annual Children’s Book Festival: Celebrating Dogs in Picture Books! And the following Saturday (June 19th) is a kids concert with Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem.

For this coming Saturday, June 12th, The Carle is offering 4 free museum passes to our readers to come be a part of their Annual Children’s Book Festival. Each pass allows for 2 adults and up to 4 kids! Deadline to enter to win is 6/10/10 by12Noon (EST). Details on how to win are .below

ABOUT THE CARLE’S 3RD ANNUAL CHILDREN’S BOOK FESTIVAL

This year’s event is a celebration of dogs in picture books and the artists and authors who created them. Meet authors and artists, including Jules Feiffer, Jeff Mack, and Patricia MacLachlan, watch service dog demonstrations with young pups in training, and enjoy book-signings, readings, presentations, special art studio activities, a raffle, face-painting, and an original art show and sale. Guests can also hear music by Putumayo World Music recording artist José Gonzalez and Banda Criolla. There will be treats from Atkins Farms Country Market and appearances by a variety of costumed canine characters.

Featured artists and authors include:

  • Karen Beil
  • Nick Bruel
  • Stephanie Calmenson
  • Eileen Christelow
  • Corinne Demas
  • Diane deGroat
  • Jules Feiffer
  • Patricia MacLachlan
  • Jeff Mack
  • Barry Moser
  • Katy Schneider
  • Laura Vaccaro Seeger
  • Shelley Rotner

Local friends from the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society and Canine Companions will be on hand to answer pooch-related questions. Stuffed animal dogs are welcome but please leave your real dogs at home!  Click here for a full schedule of events.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a museum pass (2 adults/4 kids) to The Carle’s 3rd Annual Children’s Book Festival on Saturday, June 12th, 2010 is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  Four winners will be selected. To win simply:

  1. SHARE YOUR FAVORITE TITLE BY ONE OF THE FEATURED ARTISTS/AUTHORS BELOW (one entry per family) and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) PLEASE include your town and state to be eligible.
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  5. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Thursday, 06/10/10 @ 12Noon (EST).

HFVS Music Giveaway: The Big Picture by Uncle Rock

New Music Giveaway
The Big Picture by Uncle Rock

Enter to win Uncle Rock's newest CD, "The Big Picture," and check him out at the Eric Carle Museum this May in Amherst, MA!

Uncle Rock has released a new family CD, The Big Picture, and we have a copy to giveaway to one luck family! The Big Picture is a socially conscious salute to Uncle Rock’s musical heroes. The 12 original songs (and two covers—Carol Burnett’s theme song and Tom T. Hall’s Sneaky Snake) offer sonic nods to David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Cat Stevens, the Ramones, Buddy Holly , Johnny Cash and even Billy Idol. Known for his rockabilly style and lyricism inspired by Roald Dahl and Shel Silverstein, Uncle Rock offers a musical variety show here with songs about recycling, acceptance of differences and the importance of shopping locally. Some of the songs are just plain whimsical, like My Friend Bigfoot and Leave the Bees Be, which is currently enjoying heavy rotation on Sirius-XM Satellite radio.  Deadline to enter to win is May 17th, 2010. Details below.

ABOUT UNCLE ROCK

Uncle Rock’s band The Playthings features musicians who have shared stages with Joe Cocker, Vassar Clements and Hanoi Rocks. We’ve presented Uncle Rock here in Western Mass for performances at the Florence Civic Center in 2008 and at the Children’s Art Museum in 2007, and have had him as our Valentine’s Day guest DJ on the Hilltown Family Variety Show. And our friends over at Spare the Rock have brought Uncle Rock to the Northampton Community Music Center in 2009, the Music Meltdown in 2009/10, and to the Iron Horse in 2010 … Uncle Rock is no stranger to our area, and much admired by many families.

Before his nephew dubbed him “Uncle Rock,” Robert Burke Warren performed as a bass player in many rock and roll bands, including international garage rock titans The Fleshtones. He portrayed the title character in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story in London’s West End. He’s also co-written songs for multi-Grammy winner Rosanne Cash and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Wanda Jackson.

Read reviews about Uncle Rock’s newest release on Common Sense Media, Zooglobble, Cool Mom Picks, and Out With The Kids.

UPCOMING CONCERT AT THE ERIC CARLE MUSEUM

Celebrating his fourth family music CD, The Big Picture, Uncle Rock will be performing at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA on May 15th. The concert is part of the family fun at the Museum’s Margaret Wise Brown. Uncle Rock’s show is sponsored by the Northampton Community Music Center, 93.9 The River, and The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Proceeds benefit the Northampton Community Music Center Scholarship Fund.

HOW TO WIN:

Your chance to win a free copy of Uncle Rock’s new CD, The Big Picture, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply

  1. POST A COMMENT BELOW and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town and state to be eligible. We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who leave a comment (along with their full name and town/state) and contact the winner via email.  So be sure to leave an
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL in the email field of the comment box (we never share your email address).

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Sunday, May 17th, 2010 @ 7pm (EST).

Raspberries with Jay O’Callahan at the Carle this Saturday

Jay O’Callahan and Will Moses Present Raspberries at The Carle

Storytelling at the Eric Carle Museum on Saturday, April 1th, 2010. Free with museum admission.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art welcomes Raspberries, an exuberant and hilarious hour of storytelling by renowned storyteller Jay O’Callahan, and artist Will Moses on April 17, 2010, at 1 p.m. The event, which is free with museum admission, is geared towards school-age children.

Editor and author Patricia Lee Gauch will introduce O’Callahan who will share several of his best-loved stories, including Raspberries, as Moses presents the beautiful artwork he created to accompany this timeless tale, now a picture book. The story features Simon, who was born to bake. His treats are famous until his bakery closes and everything he makes falls flat, that is, until a young girl gives him some raspberry seeds. What happens next will have everyone in the audiences yelling “Rasssspberrrrrieees!”

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Music Giveaway – Putumayo Kids Presents: Jazz Playground

New Music Giveaway
Putumayo Kids Presents: Jazz Playground
Bebop, swing and all that jazz: cool tunes for global kids!

Hilltown Families and Putumayo Kids have partnered up to offer a chance to win Putumayo Kids’ recently released Jazz Playground, a new CD collection of international jazz songs for children. From bebop and swing to Latin and African jazz, this multicultural CD celebrates the vibrant diversity and global influence of jazz and will get the whole family grooving!  Jazz Playground demonstrates how artists in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania have adopted jazz and made it their own.

Featuring a new, colorful storybook-style booklet and glossary of musical terms (image below), Jazz Playground pairs sophisticated sounds with kid-friendly lyrics. “Mary Had a Little Lamb” gets a jazzy new twist in the hands of New York City-based Israeli saxophonist and jazz educator Oran Etkin and Brooklynite Charanee Wade, while American artist Barbara Morrison delivers a smooth and cool version of the British classic “Sing a Song of Sixpence.”

UPCOMING CONCERT AT ERIC CARLE MUSEUM:

Featured artist Lewis Franco will share his love of jazz with all-ages audiences in Amherst, MA at the Eric Carle Museum on a special concert tour March 28th, 2010 at 1pm. The concert is free with museum admission. Lewis Franco has been entertaining Vermont audiences of all ages for many years. Franco’s most recent music features mostly original swing tunes about family life.


HOW TO WIN:

Your chance to win a free copy of the new Putumayo Kids Presents: Jazz Playground CD is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply

  1. POST A COMMENT BELOW and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town and state to be eligible. We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who leave a comment (along with their full name and town/state) and contact the winner via email.  So be sure to leave an
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL in the email field of the comment box (we never share your email address).

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Sunday, March 28th, 2010 @ 7pm (EST).

Free Admission to Area Museums

Lisa Downing of the Forbes Library in Northampton, MA writes:

Free admission to area museums is as easy as a visit to the Forbes Library. Now in the fifth year, the library’s museum pass program enables patrons to borrow a free admission pass to the Children’s Museum of Holyoke, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Historic Deerfield, Mass MoCA, Massachusetts State Parks, Norman Rockwell Museum, Smith College Museum of Art, Springfield Museums and the Zoo in Forest Park.

The passes circulate for two days and generally admit one family free admission for the day. Passes are available to borrow from the main desk and same day reservations can be made. The passes are checked out with a library card. This program is sponsored by the Friends of Forbes Library. For more information call 587-1011 or stop by the library to pick up a brochure about the program.

  • Click HERE for a list of museum passes available at additional area libraries in Western Massachusetts.

HFVS Giveaway (Tickets): Elizabeth Mitchell & Western MA Illustrators’ Guild Artists

FREE FAMILY PASSES

To the Eric Carle Museum
Birthday Bash and Children’s Book Festival
With Elizabeth Mitchell in Concert!

Elizabeth Mitchell, a perennial favorite of the Hilltown Family Variety Show, will be performing at the Eric Carle Museum‘s Birthday Bash and Children’s Book Festival this Saturday, June 13th @ 10am, in Amherst, MA.  The festival is from 10am-5pm.

The museum as offered Hilltown Families four free family passes for the event (2 adults and up to 4 children) .  Here’s your chance to win passes to meet many great illustrators and see Elizabeth Mitchell in concert!

THE EVENT

Birthday Bash and Children’s Book Festival
with Western Massachusetts Illustrators’ Guild
June 13, 2009
10:00 am – 5:00 pm (Elizabeth Mitchell concert is at 10am)
Celebrate, connect and create!
In honor of Eric Carle’s 80th birthday and the 25th anniversary of the Western Massachusetts Illustrators’ Guild (WMIG), The Carle is hosting a day filled with book-signings, readings, and demonstrations by WMIG artists, hands-on activities in the Art Studio, and special performances by Smithsonian Folkways Children’s music recording artist Elizabeth Mitchell. Complimenting the art in the galleries will be an exhibit of original art by some of New England’s favorite illustrators as well as an art sale, silent auction, and raffle. Click here for more information.

This event sponsored by FamilyFun magazine and The Bank of Western Massachusetts.

Participating artists include:

HOW TO WIN:

Your chance to win a free family pass (2 adults and up to 4 children)is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply

  1. POST A COMMENT BELOW and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) PLEASE include your town and state to be eligible. We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who leave a comment (along with their name and town/state) and contact the winner via email, so be sure to leave an
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL in the email field of the comment box (we never share your email address).

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Thursday (06/11/09) @ 7pm (EST).

Create a Butterfly for Batches of Butterflies

Batches of Butterflies
February 10 – May 30, 2009

HFVSLogo-Butterfly.jpgThe Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA invites friends, families, and schools throughout the country and abroad to create their own butterflies to flutter in the Museum. Celebrate the caterpillar, who for 40 years has crept into the hearts of millions of readers through his journey of hope from “a tiny and very hungry caterpillar” to a “beautiful butterfly.”

How it works:

  • Create your butterfly out of 8 ½ x 11 card stock
  • Design your butterfly using color, shape, and/or messages of hope
  • Mail to The Carle:
    Batches of Butterflies, The Eric Carle Museum, 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA 01002

All butterflies received by March 15, 2009 will flutter throughout our Great Hall from March 20 to May 31, 2009.

Be Kind to Animals Week: Writing & Art Contest for Kids


Be Kind to Animals Week


The Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society & The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art present Be Kind to Animals Week Writing and Art Contest, for kids in grades K-6th, in celebration of Be Kind to Animals Week (Week of May 4-10, 2008). Click on the above poster to read the contest rules. Entry Deadline: Friday, April 18, 2008 at 5:00 p.m.

All contestants will be honored and prizes will be awarded at the Be Kind to Animals Week Reading and Art Show Celebration on Saturday, May 10 at 3:00 pm at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Entries will be on display at the Eric Carle Museum on May 5-10, 2008.

Learning About Nature Through Music & Performance

Wings of a Feather with Constant Wonder at the Eric Carle Museum

(c) Hilltown Families

Connie and Alice of Constant Wonder. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

If you’re a parent or a teacher looking for music to supplement a nature based curriculum at school, or would like to get your kids more engaged in learning about the world around them, Grammy selected Constant Wonder has your name written all over it. Connie Gilles, a songwriter/teacher, and Alice Weiser, a dancer/singer/actress, are both from New York and love to teach facts and reverence for animals, insects and nature through both their music and interactive, on-stage performances.

My daughter and I met up with Connie and Alice on their most recent visit to our area. They stopped into the studio on Saturday (08/25/07) to do a guest DJ set with us, preceding their performance Wings of a Feather at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Arts. (Click here to listen.)

(c) Hilltown Families

Live on the Hilltown Family Variety Show at WXOJ 103.3FM, Northampton, MA. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The three of them hit it off famously. They loved listening to all of my daugher’s stories about insects and pets. They had her singing along and interacting with songs they perform live in the studio. And sharing their new treasures with her, she got a kick out of peacock feathers, an ostrich egg, and an emerald green emu egg they brought with them, presented by the folks at the Starlight Llama Solar B&B and Llama Farm in Florence, MA.

Following their guest DJ set, my daughter and I headed over to the Eric Carle Museum to see their live interactive performance. Their name, Constant Wonder, celebrates the wonder children have about the lives of animals and insects. The duo was a delight and very engaging with the audience. They performed several songs that drew on the theme of their show Wings of a Feather, including “Make A Wish,” “Ladybug,” “From Fluff to Feathers,” “
Sometimes It’s Tough To Be a Bee,” “Magnificent,” and “Save Me, I’m Your Earth.”

(c) Hilltown Families

Performance at the Eric Carle Museum (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

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