I've never met a library I didn't like. When I arrived at the Patten Free Library in Bath, Maine, I knew I was in for a marvelous time.
It was too good to be true: a model of a boat from Time of Wonder, by Robert McCloskey, begged to become the backdrop for a slide show of my illustrations for Ice Harbor Mittens, shown while author Robin Hansen read the book, to a small but appreciative audience.
Robin led an orienteering activity, in which pretend sailors could find little lobster trap clues throughout the room.
Her brother, Scott, shared some knot-tying techniques.
The library is situated within a lovely park that includes a pond with a sculpture by William Zorach.
William and his wife Marguerite were pioneering modern artists who spent many years in Maine.
Their daughter, Dahlov Ipcar, is a renowned artist as well, still making art in her 90's.
A lively mural by Ipcar lines the children's room.
This is clearly a library that treasures the worlds of story books, and I found much to my delight. Look at these favorite characters waiting to be held while a leopard whispers a story.
There are child-sized cubbies for curling up, with a view of the magnificent Winter Street Center beyond.
This very still owl watches over everything.
I had just returned two mounts, one a great horned owl, to the Maine Audubon on my way to Bath. Did you know they have quite a collection of taxidermy that can be on loan, two items at a time, for a week? I brought the owl and a red fox into my class at Maine College of Art, for a session of nature studies.
Caitlin Alger (foreground drawing above) always brings personality to her illustration.
Ali McCahon (below) added some of the marine specimens from the science room to keep her fox company.
Bridget Dunigan added subtle watercolor to her ink drawing.
I lugged these critters back home, for a family drawing session.
Marty used the opportunity to draw in his Sketchbook Project.
Daisy drew a very cool owl. Hoot!
Here's my pastel rough of the very engaging fox.
I was sad to bring them back. Even though these animals are long gone, their spirits are very present.
How fitting that the advance copies of A Warmer World arrived! I enjoyed drawing animals for this book about how climate change affects wildlife.
Let's hope this book engages young readers to honor the planet, and the habitats we share with all creatures.