Abilene, Texas was a short stop on our trip, but a relaxing visit! We spent most of our time in the RV, watching an incredible (but luckily, far off) lightning storm. I put the town on our list for the sole reason of The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (doesn’t everyone want to visit that at some point?), but we loved the offbeat quirkiness of the town.

We’re aware of the “Keep Austin Weird” campaign – tshirts, bumper stickers, etc. But we were surprised to find “Keep Abilene Boring” shirts sold in the local coffeeshop! (The slogan isn’t meant to be derogatory to the city – Monk’s Coffeshop states: If being boring means great schools, friendly people and a super downtown, then keep Abilene boring!)

But can a town that plays host to a smattering of odd sculptures really be called boring?

Yes, that’s a Brontosaurus (locally known as Dinosaur Bob) poking his head into an old VW, all on top of a building. Other wacky sculptures we saw (yet inexplicably did not photograph!): An 18ft tall deer skull, an oversized pink flamingo holding a pair of sunglasses, and a massive steel bull skull.

Abilene has a quiet downtown, which is home to the historic Paramount Theatre. The theatre was originally built in 1930, and retains its gorgeous, opulent detailing. We were sad we couldn’t fit in a show or performance!

We stopped by the NCCIL to view their current exhibition (Dan Yaccarino) and had a wonderful time enjoying the illustrations and poking through the well-stocked bookstore/giftshop. I was a little disappointed in the sparseness of the museum, but I think I had a different expectation. It seemed like an amazing resource for local teachers!

As you walk around the room, the larger art pieces are accompanied by the children’s books they appear in – so we got to experience the full story of each piece!

Photo credit: NCCIL

 My favorite piece was an image from Yaccarino’s Lawn to Lawn - I mean, the book features a garden gnome as a main character!

I also loved flipping through his Jacques Cousteau children’s book.

Art aside, my absolute FAVORITE part of the NCCIL was this AMAZING desk!!!

Can you imagine sitting at that desk to write your children’s novels? I plan to have one in my own office someday!

Has anyone ever been to, or heard of Abilene? We were pretty surprised to meet someone who lived there for 5 years just a week after our visit!

xo,

Lindsay

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