Nook now a storybook world

Published 3:56 pm Thursday, January 28, 2010

Expect to find children of all ages enchanted with the newly decorated children’s room at Parnell Memorial Library.

Eric Carle’s familiar storybook characters now adorn the walls and soon the delightful children’s room will be complete with Carle’s rug, furniture and polka-dotted roman shades.

On a recent morning I found Debbie Sullivan atop a scaffold skillfully painting and adding layers of transparent glazing to the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Among the caterpillar’s friends along the wall are Mister Seahorse, the Grouchy Ladybug, Hermit the Crab and the Octopus. There are eight of the beguiling animals and they came from five of Carle’s fascinating stories.

Permission from Carle was required in order to copy his illustrations. Sullivan had to send the author detailed drawings of exactly how she would use those illustrations and then she had to make the changes that he required.

“But it was worth all of that,” Sullivan said. “The project was so much fun and I loved doing it.”

The theme for redecorating the children’s area was an easy decision because the children so love the stories and the characters of Carle.

The search for an artist capable of painting the murals was the only problem, said Library Director Christi King.

“Debbie was recommended to me by numerous people within the community and has exceeded my expectations,” King said. “Debbie had to jump through many hoops to paint Eric Carle’s murals and never once complained. She is an amazing muralist and has been a joy to work with.”

Sullivan began painting murals more than 30 years ago.

Children and adults alike have loved Carle’s wonderful stories for 40 years.

His 70 books have been translated into 47 languages and more than 29 million copies have been sold. Carle has both illustrated and written most of his books.

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” published in 1969, is probably the favorite.

The transformation of the children’s room is a project of the Parnell Library Foundation and was suggested and planned by King. The expenses were provided for by a grant given by Joan Beasley in memory of Dr. Philip Beasley.

Catherine Legg can be reached at