Sad news in the world today. Eric Carle, the prolific and colorful children’s author has passed away at the age of 91. He was born in 1929 in Syracuse but moved to Germany when he was six; his mother was German and missed her homeland. He eventually returned to the States as a young man and his first job was graphic designer for The New York Times.
In 1967 Bill Martin, a children’s author, noticed Carle’s illustration of a red lobster and suggested that they work together. Brown Bear, Brown Bear became and instant and runaway best-seller and Carle’s career as a childrens book author and illustrator was on its way.
Even if you’re not very familiar with his many books, you might recognize his very distinctive style. Using hand-painted paper, he did collages in startlingly bright colors and his favorite themes involved animals and nature.
I’m too old to have had Eric Carle books when I was a kid but I discovered him when I was working at the bookstore and I was happy to add some of his titles to YA’s collection when she was little. Like many children, her favorite was The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Carle wrote this in 1969 and it’s been his most popular title every since. It has sold almost 50 million copies worldwide and has been translated into at least 40 languages. YA also liked Brown Bear, Brown Bear – it’s very lyrical and the repetitions made it easy to memorize.
Of course, MY favorite is Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? I still have it in my collection.
Did you have any books memorized when you were a kid?