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To MAY 7

A Carnival of Animals: Beasts, Birds, and Bugs in original Illustrations From Children’s Books

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It’s strange how some images from childhood stick with you. There’s one page from a Little Golden Book I had when I was 5 or 6 that I can see as clearly as if it were in front or me. The lights are dim, the rest of the family’s already upstairs, and a father bear is getting ready for bed. He’s wearing a nightcap and nightshirt and in his left hand is a plate on which sits a big, fat piece of chocolate cake. I can’t remember the moral of the story, its characters’ names, or anything about it, really, except that piece of cake. “A Carnival of Animals: Beasts, Birds, and Bugs in original Illustrations From Children’s Books,” while definitely lacking in depictions of bears with cake, nonetheless features many compelling images from children’s books. one of the most interesting is Paul owen Lewis’ image of a bright purple crab hiding from a huge orange fish. The work is accompanied by sketches and notes that the illustrator made while working on his book, and getting to see how Lewis developed the crab’s visual persona is a nice treat. It’s also refreshing to see these illustrations separated from their texts; without accompanying words, many take on a pleasingly surreal aspect. Don’t go expecting to see works by big names like Beatrix Potter, A.A. Milne, and Dr. Seuss, but do go with your young nephew or niece in tow. He or she might just remember it for a long, long time. on view from 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday, to Sunday, May 7, at the Meridian International Center’s White-Meyer House, 1624 Crescent Place NW. Free. (202) 939-5568. (Megan Searing)