Children’s book author and illustrator Eric Carle has passed away.
Eric Carle’s picture books were often about insects. Spiders, lady bugs, crickets and of course, that famous caterpillar, all as colorful and friendly as Carle himself. The Very Hungry Caterpillar — probably Carle’s best-known work — came out in 1969 and became one of the bestselling children’s books of all time.
Over the course of his career, Carle illustrated more than 70 books for kids. He didn’t get started on that path until he was nearly 40, but he found great inspiration in his own childhood.
Trained as a graphic designer, Eric Carle worked for many years as an art director for an advertising agency in New York City. One day, he was contacted by educator and author Bill Martin, Jr. Bill had seen a picture of a lobster Eric had created for an ad, and he wanted Eric to illustrate a story he’d written. The result of their collaboration was Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Henry Holt), published to great acclaim in 1966—and still in print.
Other illustration projects followed, and soon Eric Carle was writing his own stories, too. His first wholly original book was 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo, published in 1968. Other well-known titles include The Very Lonely Firefly, The Very Quiet Cricket, The Grouchy Ladybug and many more. To create his distinctive and instantly recognizable illustrations, Eric Carle cuts and layers his own hand-painted papers in a collage technique to form bright, cheerful images. His stories often draw on his extensive knowledge and love of nature, offering children the opportunity to learn about the world around them.
In 2002, with his wife, Barbara, he co-founded The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, now known as The Carle, in Amherst, MA. The Carle exhibits the work of national and international picture book artists, and since its opening, it has welcomed over 300,000 visitors. For more information about Eric Carle and The Carle please visit: www.eric-carle.com and www.carlemuseum.org.