The Montclair Art Museum just got a huge infusion of color with their bright new Eric Carle: Animals and Friends (which runs until Jan. 3, 2016). If and you've read Brown Bear, Brown Bear: What Do You See? a million times, but haven't seen any of his detailed collages in real life, this is your perfect opportunity.

These vivid pieces are on loan Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA (worth the trip if you’re planning a weekend away), and some have never been put on display before. While the exhibit features art from some of his lesser known works like The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse and Friends, these images are all in his signature style, so the kids will instantly know this is the same artist who created The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

You can learn a ton about how Carle created Friends in honor of his long-lost childhood pal (who he’s since reunited with), or how The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse was inspired by growing up in Nazi-Germany and being encouraged to draw "realistic" creations.

Kids can watch video footage from a Mister Rogers episode where he visited Carle in his workshop, see some of his early sketches and learn how he creates these collages with paint and tissue paper. And the kids won't just look at stuff behind glass, they can chill out in the cozy reading room that’s  filled with beanbags and a collection of Carle's books.

During the duration of the exhibit, kids can take classes in the Family Learning Lab (check the museum website for a full schedule). They'll get to try their hand at making their own Eric Carle-esque creations. And there's an Eric Carle family day on Nov. 15th.

Entrance to the museum includes this special exhibit (and most classes). The museum is open Wednesday through Sundays noon-5, and adult admission is $12. Kids under 12 get in free. 

The Reading Nook: