RIP Eric Carle

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? 

23 thoughts on “RIP Eric Carle”

  1. i didn’t discover polar express until my kids were born but fell in love with it immediately

    dr suess was always a favorite and captain kangaroo had those great stories like homer the harmonica playing boy who saved the day when sneech sucked the lemon

    i remember the golden books and whole baskets of children’s books but nothing specific

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I was in college when Carle wrote Caterpillar, but I’ve read it to my kids and grandkids many times.

    Most of the earliest books I was read and possibly memorized were Golden Books. My favorite was called The Puppy Who Chased the Sun, featuring dogs with names like No-tail Ryan and Toothy Perkins.

    A book that both Robin and I remember fondly from our very early years was The Tall Book of Make-Believe, with illustrations by Garth Williams. Among the stories in that collection, the one that stood out for both of us was “The Story of Bad Mousie”.

    I was doing an online search this morning on the subject of that book and came across this interesting post:

    Both books are long out of print and surviving copies are priced astronomically (in my opinion).

    Liked by 4 people

  3. When I was young, my parents did not have a lot of money and that meant I did not have a lot of books of my own. (That’s probably when I learned to love libraries.) But according to my mother, I had all of my own memorized. In fact more than once my folks had to explain to visitors that no, I was not actually reading at the age of four but I knew when to turn the pages on my memorized books so it looked like I was reading. I don’t remember most of the books I had at that age but the two I do remember are The Pokey Puppy (one of those Little Golden books) and The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes. I’ve actually purchased both of these as an adult because I have such fond memories of them.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Grandson arrives today for a 5 day visit. We will be reading. We have many books from when our children were small. We will see what he likes. He loves his books at his home, and is starting to “read” from memory as he looks at the pages by himself.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Another book that I memorized when I was young what’s the Dr. Seuss title. On the Way to Solla Sollew . I actually memorized this on a vacation trip when we were driving out west. I was about 10. I don’t remember why this book was brought along And I also don’t remember why I thought it was a good idea to memorize this book. My guess is that this activity of mine drove my parents insane on that trip. Because I know it would drive me insane today if YA did the same.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Books I remember loving as a child were Richard Scarry’s “What Do People Do All Day,” several of the Seuss books, and one from my school library called “The Monster’s Nose Was Cold” about a boy who adopts a monster and lets him live under the crib mattress – I think the author was local (Amazon tells me her name is Joan Hanson and I can buy a used library copy for $30). We also had a Moomintroll book (this one: that I remember being very frustrated about not being able to read – the words made no sense, even after I learned to read. I think I was eight before I figured out our copy was a Norwegian translation of the original Finnish and my mother would translate it on the fly as she read it to me…

    One of Daughter’s favorites when she was tiny was Sandra Boynton’s “But Not the Hippopotamus.” That one I had memorized because I read it so much… A moose and a goose together have juice… but not the hippopotamus…

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Run, Spot! Run!
    The Fun With Dick And Jane books come to mind although I never owned them.
    Thankfully, my parents taught me to read long before seeing them in school.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. We had mostly the Little Golden Books, and I had memorized The Night Before Christmas – like VS, people thought I (age 4) was reading it. The library was where I found Curious George, Blueberries for Sal and Make Way for Ducklings, etc. I was amazed during my “kiddie lit” class in college about all the literature I had missed, including Winnie the Pooh!

    One of my favorites when reading to Joel was a Swedish author – Sven Nordquist. Great sense of humor and detailed drawings with tiny mice, etc. doing funny things on every page. Pancake Pie is here called
    Pancakes for Findus:

    Liked by 2 people

    1. At a certain age, so did my kids.
      That brings to mind another book they really liked- Father Fox’s Pennyrhymes, by Clyde and Wendy Watson. A sample rhyme:

      Dilly dilly pickalilly
      tell me something really silly:
      There was a man
      his name was Burt
      he ate the buttons
      off his shirt

      Liked by 3 people

  9. “You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
    “And your hair has become very white.
    And yet you incessantly stand on your head.
    Do you think, at your age, it is right?”

    “In my youth,” said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
    “I kept all my limbs very supple
    By the use of this ointment –
    Ten shillings a box –
    Allow me to sell you a couple.”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I wrote this from memory, and after checking sources, I have to employ Alice’s excuse: “Not quite right, I’m afraid,” said Alice timidly;
      “some of the words have got altered.”

      The full text is:

      “You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
      “And your hair has become very white;
      And yet you incessantly stand on your head –
      Do you think, at your age, it is right?”

      “In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
      “I feared it might injure the brain;
      But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
      Why, I do it again and again.”

      “You are old,” said the youth, “as I mentioned before,
      And have grown most uncommonly fat;
      Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door —
      Pray, what is the reason of that?”

      “In my youth,” said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
      “I kept all my limbs very supple
      By the use of this ointment — one shilling the box —
      Allow me to sell you a couple.”

      “You are old,” said the youth, “and your jaws are too weak
      For anything tougher than suet;
      Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak —
      Pray, how did you manage to do it?”

      “In my youth,” said his father, “I took to the law,
      And argued each case with my wife;
      And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
      Has lasted the rest of my life.”

      “You are old,” said the youth; one would hardly suppose
      That your eye was as steady as ever;
      Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose —
      What made you so awfully clever?”

      “I have answered three questions, and that is enough,”
      Said his father; “don’t give yourself airs!
      Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
      Be off, or I’ll kick you down stairs!”

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for keeping an eye on the e-mail. It’s concerning that we haven’t heard, but I hope Molly is just waiting till she has good news to share, or is busy with other things if Steve is out of danger.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Yes, thanks, Renee. I think everyone on here is concerned for Steve, so I can only imagine how Molly is feeling. I’m sure she’ll let us know when his condition changes, hopefully for the better, and soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve talks before of the ‘I can read’ series of books. I don’t recall if I memorized any but I knew them well.
    I did have a lot of Disney musical LP’s
    And memorized a lot of them.

    Dr Seuss was always a favorite, but I don’t remember many as a kid.
    Tomie dePaolo – he had some good stories and illustrations.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. To be honest, I don’t remember. What I do recall is “reading” my copy of Alice in Wonderful in English, despite that I couldn’t read, and certainly not in English. I just made it up as I went along, much as I’ve done with the rest of my life.

    Liked by 3 people

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