‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ author Eric Carle dies at 91


By MARK KENNEDY - AP Entertainment Writer



Author Eric Carle reads his classic children’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” on the NBC “Today” television program Oct. 8, 2009, in New York, as part of Jumpstart’s 4th annual National Read for the Record Day.

Author Eric Carle reads his classic children’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” on the NBC “Today” television program Oct. 8, 2009, in New York, as part of Jumpstart’s 4th annual National Read for the Record Day.


NEW YORK — Eric Carle, the beloved children’s author and illustrator whose classic “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and other works gave millions of kids some of their earliest and most cherished literary memories, has died at age 91.

Carle’s family says he died Sunday at his summer studio in Northampton, Massachusetts, with family members at his side. The family’s announcement was issued by Penguin Young Readers.

“Heaven just got more colorful,” Peter H. Reynolds, author and illustrator of “The Dot,” wrote in tribute on Twitter. Carle, he said, “made his mark, splashing bravely and inspiring those around him to do the same.”

Through books like “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” “Do You Want to Be My Friend?” and “From Head to Toe,” Carle introduced universal themes in simple words and bright colors.

“The unknown often brings fear with it,” he once observed. “In my books I try to counteract this fear, to replace it with a positive message. I believe that children are naturally creative and eager to learn. I want to show them that learning is really both fascinating and fun.”

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” published in 1969, was welcomed by parents and delighted kids with its story of the metamorphosis of a green and red caterpillar to a proudly multi-colored butterfly.

Originally conceived as a book about a bookworm — called “A Week with Willi the Worm” — the hero, who eats through 26 different foods, was changed to a caterpillar on the advice of his editor. It has sold some 40 million copies and has been translated into 60 languages, spawned stuffed animal caterpillars and has been turned into a stage play.

“I remember that as a child, I always felt I would never grow up and be big and articulate and intelligent,” Carle told The New York Times in 1994. ”’Caterpillar’ is a book of hope: you, too, can grow up and grow wings.”

Politicians like George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton were known to read the book to children on the campaign trail. The American Academy of Pediatrics sent more than 17,000 pediatricians special copies of the book, along with growth charts and parent handouts on healthy eating. Fellow writer and illustrator Ted Dewan called the book one of the pillars of children’s culture. “It’s almost talking about how great the Beatles were. It’s beyond reproach,” he said.

Carle wrote and-or illustrated more than 75 books, sometimes partnering with Bill Martin Jr. or other authors, but most with Carle working alone. One of his last books was 2015′s “The Nonsense Show,” which centered on a parade of flying fish, cat-taming mice and circus animals.

“To have spent some time with Eric Carle was the closest thing one could get to hanging out with the actual Santa Claus. His books and his advocacy for the arts will continue to ripple through time. But we in the children’s book community will miss him terribly,” National Book Award finalist Jarrett J. Krosoczka wrote on Twitter.

Author Eric Carle reads his classic children’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” on the NBC “Today” television program Oct. 8, 2009, in New York, as part of Jumpstart’s 4th annual National Read for the Record Day.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/05/web1_AP21146820640711.jpgAuthor Eric Carle reads his classic children’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” on the NBC “Today” television program Oct. 8, 2009, in New York, as part of Jumpstart’s 4th annual National Read for the Record Day.

By MARK KENNEDY

AP Entertainment Writer

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