Friday, March 20, 2009

"It's a book of hope."

Today is the 40th anniversary of the release of Eric Carle's famous children's book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. "This little, fat ugly thing ends up flying into the world as a beautiful butterfly." (1)

And so it began--a hole puncher and a stack of paper, and one of the world's most beloved children's books was born. This hungry caterpillar eats his way through a variety of fruit. After eating a green leaf, he builds a cocoon. And then, a miraculous event occurs. He turns into a beautiful butterfly.

Visit his official website and see a marvelous short video of him discussing this book and and painting and creating his wonderful collage art. "I love color!" declares the almost 80 year old Carle. He hand paints papers and then cuts and layers them to create his signature collages.

See a most interesting biography of his life.
How did his career begin? Bill Martin, Jr. asked Carle to illustrate a story he had written, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Martin was captivated by a bright red lobster that Carle had painted for an advertisement.

The themes of Carle's stories are drawn from his knowledge and love of nature. His books are visually gorgeous and entertaining. But they also offer readers the opportunity to learn something about the world around them. He has an intuitive understanding and respect for children. "It is his concern for children, for their feelings and their inquisitiveness, for their creativity and their intellectual growth that, in addition to his beautiful artwork, makes the reading of his books such a stimulating and lasting experience." (2)

last page from the newly released pop-up version

And, guess what? There is an Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art! 125 West Bay Road Amherst, MA 01002 website:

Published in 1969, The Very Hungry Caterpillar has sold more than 29 million copies and has been translated into 47 languages. This book continues to sell about 650,00 copies per year.

references: (1) http://http// (2) http://http//

Addendum: NICO Design pointed out that fabric is available. Here are some resources: Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric and quilt kits: http://http// http://http// Brown Bear fabrics and fat quarters:

And, of couse, fabrics are available at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art: http://http//

check this out!

and Carle's own blog!
Mishkat of
informed me that there is an article about Carle in the March 23, 2009 Newsweek (pp.52-54).

NEW: I have just found the most wonderful blog, Children's/Fantasy IIlustrations! Hermes has posted a fantastic youtube animated version of the book here! You must see this!

NOTE: Apparently, the links not written in html are broken. And I don't have time to fix them right now. Copy and paste and you will get there. Sorry.


  1. I remember reading this book as a child...glad to see it is still a fave for the kiddos after 40 years :)

  2. his works. I had no idea it's been around so long!

  3. I think that there might even be quilting fabric featuring his little creatures...

  4. what a cute story! Thanks for sharing it!

  5. I don't remember his books and what a shame because they sound wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

  6. That was one of my favorite books! Thanks for sharing this with us.

  7. 40 years!..and just as popular today...and wow...there's now a pop up book...looking forward to checking out his video interview...thanks for sharing all this interesting info..

  8. Oh both of my boys, especially my oldest loved his books!! Thanks for such a wonderful post...

  9. Ditto Ruthie & Memories!

    Thank you...

  10. Thanks for all the great sites. I have read The Very Hungry Caterpillar more than 100 times to my kids. I will be using it soon for a children's book unit in my 9th grade English class. I'm soooo glad I found you. Come visit sometime.


  11. I really feel old! Had no idea this wonderful book has been around that long....I have it, but of coarse I do...with four grandchildren! Thanks for sharing ;)

  12. There was a good article about Eric Carle in the last issue of Newsweek - he didn't start illustrating kid's books until halfway through his life. I really like his style.

    P.S. Be careful about blogging about your cats - my cats took over my blog :)! (I'm kidding, but not really...)

  13. And I forgot to say that I really like your avatar - is that a double orange daylily?

  14. Mishkat~
    It IS a double orange daylily! They are so pretty and very easy to grow. I have quite a few in my garden. There is a bug on it (don't know what kind), which is kind of tiny to see in such a small photo. I was starting to think my avatar looked rather like an orange smear.
    Thanks for the tip about Eric Carle and Newsweek.

  15. oh he is so my favorite. thanks for all of this interesting information.

  16. What a great post! I love Eric Carle, as do my kid's, thanks for all the great links! Fabric? How cool is that? :D

  17. What a great post this is on Eric Carle and his book 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'. :)
    ...I'm glad that you enjoyed my post as well. I'm sure that everyone would want to have one of his limited edition prints too!



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