Eric Carle

Published August 31, 2009 by Molly

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No survey of classic kid’s book illustrators would be complete without Eric Carle, whose best-known work The Very Hungry Caterpillar has sold over 29 million copies since it was published in 1969. Wowza!

Like all stellar children’s illustrators, Carle’s work is colorful, ingenious and recognizable at fifty paces. The artist layers hand-painted papers to form his signature collages of pandas, frogs, cats and bears. The most memorable aspect of Carle’s work, however, is not exactly an aesthetic value. More than any other illustrator, Carle fills his work with love and warmth––qualities as magnetic on the page as they are difficult to capture.

Born in 1929 in Syracuse, New York to German immigrants, Carle recalls tramping through the woods with his father and examining the wonders of nature, a feeling he tries to recapture in books like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Normally when you love something dearly––a song, a painting, a pair of pants––and find out that millions of other people feel the same way, a certain sense of intimacy with the product is lost. Part of Eric Carle’s magic is that this is never the case with his books. No matter how many copies of Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear make their way across the globe, all the joy and love of Carle’s inventions remain firmly intact.

Best of all? Carle keeps a delightful blog for those seeking a bit of his magic on the internet.

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This is part four of a series about classic children’s book illustrators. Previous subjects include Richard Scarry, Clement Hurd and Tomi Ungerer.

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One comment so far

  1. GARCIA says:

    Eric Carle is the best. Yet it seems a lot of people don’t know his name. So thanks Molly.