Emberley’s Ode to Joy
Ed Emberley is a natural-born storyteller. From the moment I walked into the 300-year-old house that sits along the Ipswich River, where he lives and works with his wife, Barbara, Emberley began weaving narratives of his life into a colorful picture of the journey he’s taken to become one of the nation’s most prolific and respected illustrators of children’s literature of the last 60 years.
On November 16, the Worcester Art Museum opens the first comprehensive retrospective of Emberly’s work: “Kahbahblooom: The Art and Storytelling of Ed Emberley.”
Emberley, born in Malden, Mass. in 1931, has authored and illustrated over 80 books for kids of all ages, inspiring generations of readers and artists. Among the most notable are the Caldecott-honored “One Wide River to Cross” (1965), the Caldecott Medalwinning “Drummer Hoff” (1967) and the bestselling “Go Away, Big Green Monster!” (1992). He also authored the teaching book, “Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals” (1970), which launched a series and remains one of the best-selling books of its kind.
Emberley explained how he didn’t get drafted in the early 1950s and attended MassArt, where he met Barbara (his partner in work and life) on the first day of school. While Emberley says he enjoyed it, tuition was only $100 per year then, and he said he wouldn’t advise anyone to go to art school now.