Remembering Eric Carle, Author of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ and Scores of Children’s Books

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This photo illustration taken on May 26, 2021 shows Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "Book of Many Things" in Los Angeles, California. - Eric Carle, author and illustrator of the beloved children's classic "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," has died aged 91. (AFP via Getty Images)

Editor's note: This tribute to Eric Carle erroneously mentions quotes from a parody article in The Paris Review attributed to the author. We regret the error and apologize to the family of Mr. Carle and our listeners.

On the 50th anniversary of his best-selling 1969 children’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” Eric Carle summarized its message as: “You, little insignificant caterpillar, can grow up into a beautiful butterfly and fly into the world with your talent.” Carle passed away Sunday at the age of 91. He first utilized his distinct collage style when he illustrated Bill Martin Jr.’s 1967 “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” Since then, Carle wrote and illustrated more than 70 children’s books which have collectively sold upwards of 170 million copies worldwide. We’ll discuss the artwork and legacy of Eric Carle, and we want to hear your memories of reading his books as a child, or with your own children.


Michelle H. Martin, professor, University of Washington's School of Information

Rolf Carle, son of Eric Carle