Eric Carle and The Very Hungry Caterpillar

One of the very first books I ever remember owning was The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a wonderful childrens book, written and illustrated by Eric Carle. Originally published in 1969 this Hungry Caterpillar has sold over 29 million copies in more than 47 different languages.

Carle was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1929 but at the age of 6 he and his family moved to Germany, where he lived and studied until 1952 when he realized his dream and returned to New York. His first job in NY was as a Graphic Designer for The New York Times promotional department, after which he went on to become an art director in an ad agency.

It wasn’t until author, Bill Martin Jr asked Carle to illustrate his latest story, ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?’ that his childrens book career began. His first solo book was ‘1, 2, 3 to the Zoo’ and his second was my childhood favourite, ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’.

His illustration style is distinctive and quite unusual. He collages hand-painted tissue papers - cut to shape, layered and finished off with hand drawn details, to create vibrant images with depth and bold colour. Throughout his career Eric Carle has illustrated more than 70 childrens books in this way, most of which he also wrote!

Images copyright Eric Carle.

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