So Long Eric Carle. Thank You for Giving Us “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”
The only constant is change, an unavoidable fact of life. At the end, it’s the way we adapt to change that will set us apart and the lessons we learn along the way that will define our lives. I understood this by reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the classic children’s …
The only constant is change, an unavoidable fact of life. At the end, it’s the way we adapt to change that will set us apart and the lessons we learn along the way that will define our lives. I understood this by reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the classic children’s book written and illustrated by Eric Carle. In fact, it was this book that inspired me to take a class while in art school on illustrating children’s books. The Very Hungry Caterpillar has remained in my bookshelves throughout all these years.
This week, Eric Carle passed at age 91 at his summer home in Massachusetts. Over his career, Mr. Carle authored more than 70 books and sold millions of copies — more than 170 million according to his publisher. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is his best-known book. Published in 1969, written in mere 224 words, the book has been translated into more than 70 languages and counting.
Like many of the greatest, Mr. Carle tapped into his inner child to find his voice. “I had a lot of feelings, philosophical thoughts — at the age of 6,” he told The Los Angeles Times in 1995. “The only way I got older and wiser was that I got better trained. But that brain and soul were at their peak.”
What’s remarkable and timeless about The Very Hungry Caterpillar is, along with the deceptive simplicity of its sweet story, are the charming illustrations and vivid textures. In his website he explains his process, “Let’s say I want to create a caterpillar, I cut out a circle for the head from a red tissue paper and many ovals for the body from green tissue papers; and then I paste them with wallpaper glue onto an illustration board to make the picture.” He worked with brushes, fingers, and many objects like a piece of carpet, fabrics, sponges. He then experimented in tissue paper creating those unique textures that have become his trademark.
If you haven’t read the book or just want to relive it again, check out the video below where Mr. Carle himself reads The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Rest in peace Eric Carle.