Do you remember Eric Carle? He’s hit several children’s litterary grand slams like, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?”(1967) and, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” (1969). Seriously, who could forget? (Probably most of us, until I brought it up– but the point is you now remember who he is.) Bright, sunny, animal illustrations that made it almost impossible for us to wait as our teachers read the page before showing the class. Paired with Bill Martin’s repetitious language they’re easy to follow. Add in a dash of simple, kid-friendly comedy (like how ever could one small caterpillar eat all that food? OF COURSE he got a tummy ache!) and you’ve got a collection of work that was a staple of my early 1990’s literature preference (right next to Goosebumps and American Girl Books.)
I recently stumbled upon something via Etsy that was referencing his work and threw myself down a rabbit hole until I found what he is up to now. No surprise– he’s still working in children’s books, but perhaps in a way you wouldn’t expect.
Unlike Eric claims in this video, he did not stop working on children’s books after “Baby Bear. Baby Bear, What Do You See” (2007) and most recently put out “The Artist who Painted a Blue Horse” (2011). See the full list and reviews of Eric’s books.
He also has a museum! Eric writes on his website:
For a number of years my wife Bobbie and I dreamt about creating a place where original picture book art could be enjoyed and appreciated. It has been said that picture books are an introduction to literature for the very young reader. We wanted to help build a museum that would be the same thing for the first time museum visitor: an introduction to the experience of looking at art.
In the early 1980’s, Bobbie and I visited picture book museums in Japan, and an early seed of inspiration was planted. Our visit to this beautiful country where picture book art was exhibited and honored, helped to set us on our course toward opening the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.
We were interested in developing enthusiasts for the art of picture books and in encouraging habit of museum going in our younger visitors. Children’s picture book art is the introduction to art for young people, and we wanted to show the highest examples of that art to demonstrate the beauty, the seriousness and the fun of it. We wanted to create a museum that exhibits the work of national and international picture book artists. We believe the Museum has and will continue to fulfill our dreams and aspirations. The 40,000 sq. ft. building itself is a beautiful, spacious and light-filled space with a large main hall, three galleries, a café, an art studio, an auditorium and a museum shop. Since its opening in 2002, the Museum has welcomed more than 300,000 visitors. We hope you will come for a visit soon!
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
In summary, Eric Carle remains true to his art, and in this I find him inspirational. I’ve been told by many people that in order to be successful one should pick one thing, and become a specialist in that area. Unfortunately that involves knowing what the heck you want to do. So until then I will explore all the nooks and crannies of business and look for something that truly resonates. (I’m in the process of making my next professional move. Stay tuned.)
Thank you Eric for touching my life not only as a child with a wild imagination, but as an adult blogger finding herself in a professional world. I promise to remain true to my art (once I figure out what that exactly is) and maybe one day be as awesome as you are.
p.s. if you love his work as much as I do you can purchase various art prints and merchandise from the museum website.