Mo Willems’ beloved children’s book characters speak with a distinctly New York accent, from Trixie’s very first Brooklyn “Aggle Flaggle Klabble!” utterance to the Nichols and May-esque comedy duo of Elephant and Piggie to a public transportation-obsessed Pigeon. This spring, the New-York Historical Society presents The Art and Whimsy of Mo Willems, a rollicking journey across a career that started on Sesame Street and led to a laundromat in Park Slope.
Since the publication of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! in 2003, Willems has amassed an impressive list of New York Times best-selling adventures that have garnered him three Caldecott Honors, two Geisel Medals, five Geisel Honors, and an inaugural spot in the Picture Book Hall of Fame. Previous to his publishing career, Willems won six Emmy Awards for his writing on PBS’s Sesame Street, created the Cartoon Network’s Sheep in the Big City, and was the head writer for Codename: Kids Next Door. He has written two musicals based on his books, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical and Elephant & Piggie’s We Are In a Play!, both commissioned by the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
The Art and Whimsy of Mo Willems exhibition brings together original art, sketches, and inspirational drawings from Willem's most popular series, plus stand-alone classics such as Leonardo the Terrible Monster and That is NOT a Good Idea!. It displays the efforts behind the effortlessness, the seriousness behind the silliness, and the desire, as Willems says, “to think of my audience, not for my audience.” His ability to crisply weave together life lessons and humor creates artful volumes that speak to all, regardless of size.
This exhibition was organized by the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.
Generous support for this exhibition provided by