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Something Seriously Silly for the Whole Family

Photo credit: Marty Umans

Bunnies and elephants and pigeons, oh my!  The High Museum of Art has something seriously silly coming to Atlanta starting May 23 through January 2016. They will be highlighting the work of Mo Willems in an exhibit called Seriously Silly: The art & whimsy of Mo Willems. The exhibit will include a retrospective of illustrations by the best-selling children’s book artist and author.

Seriously Silly! features more than 100 works by the artist – from preliminary drawings to completed illustrations – that chronicle the past 12 years of Willems' whimsical world, populated by his beloved characters Knuffle Bunny, Elephant and Piggie, The Pigeon, and many more. Organized by The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (Amherst, Mass.), the exhibition gives viewers a glimpse of Willems' creative process and reveals the comedic genius of his books, which have become instant hits with young children.

Mo Willems began his career as a writer and animator for PBSSesame Street, where he garnered 6 Emmy Awards for his writing. During his nine seasons at Sesame Street, Willems also served as a weekly commentator for BBC Radio and created two animated series, Nickelodeon’s The Off-Beats and Cartoon Network’s Sheep in the Big City. While serving as head writer for Cartoon Network’s #1 rated show, Codename: Kids Next Door, Willems began writing and drawing books for children. His debut effort, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! became a New York Times Bestseller and was awarded a Caldecott Honor in 2004.  

The museum will also honor the author-illustrator with a Mo Willems Day at the High on May 30. The fun-filled day for families will include a book signing, a read-aloud, a scavenger hunt, an art workshop, and many other activities.  Mo Willems Day is free with Museum admission and free for Members. In conjunction with the exhibition, The Alliance Theatre will present a production of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical on May 27-June 28. Click here for more information and tickets. You can connect with Mo Willems through his blog, www.mowillems.com and on twitter, @The_Pigeon

These events coincide with the second annual Toddler Takeover: an arts festival for the very young presented by The Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and High Museum of Art. The Takeover is May 29–31, 2015 at the Woodruff Arts Center. This one-of-a-kind experience for children from 0–5 years old will feature performances of six original productions from Alliance Theatre for the Very Young, the return of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's Music for the Very Young, stroller tours and art-making at the High Museum of Art.  The purpose is to inspire the next generation through world class artistic experiences and arts-based workshops.