Image Credit: Mo Willems, Illustration for I’m a Frog! (An ELEPHANT & PIGGIE book). Collection of Mo and Cher Willems. Copyright 2013 Mo Willems. ELEPHANT & PIGGIE is a trademark of The Mo Willems Studio, Inc.
This summer in the Main Gallery, the Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts is thrilled to welcome Elephant & Piggie in WE ARE ART! (A Mo Willems exhibition) organized by The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. This free exhibition features 75 works, including original illustrations, color digital renderings, early sketches, dummy books, and more. A cozy reading area will allow families to enjoy these fabulous stories together, while digital tablets enable guests to animate their own stories of fun with friends. Since their debut in 2007, Elephant & Piggie has entertained millions of children and adults with hilarious escapades that impart valuable lessons on manners, empathy, emotions, and—most importantly—friendship.
Mo Willems is one of the most celebrated children’s book authors and artists working today. A number one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, Willems has been awarded a Caldecott Honor on three occasions (for Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity). Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! was also an inaugural inductee into the Indies Choice Picture Book Hall of Fame. Willems’s beloved Elephant and Piggie, early reader series, has garnered two Theodor Seuss Geisel Medals and five Geisel Honors. Willems began his career as a writer and animator on Sesame Street, earning six Emmy Awards.
National test results released in the fall of 2022 revealed how much school closures and remote learning impacted children during the pandemic. The National Assessment of Educational Progress report showed that reading scores among 9-year-olds fell by the most significant margin in more than 30 years. Students attending schools in suburban areas and towns suffered the biggest drops.
“If kids are struggling to read by the time they get to fifth grade, it has lifelong implications,” said Courtney Gardner, director of the Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts. “So our summer goal is to come alongside families and make reading fun. We want to ignite each child’s imagination and create opportunities to engage with books in fun and meaningful ways. We’re being very intentional, using art as a vehicle for growth as we live out the mission of the Pearl.”
The Pearl’s presentation of Elephant & Piggie in WE ARE ART! is generously sponsored by AAUW North Harris County Branch. The exhibition opens Saturday, June 3, and continues through September 2, 2023, with regular museum hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is FREE.