The Art of Eric Carle

The Art of Eric Carle

by Eric Carle

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Eric Carle is one of the world's most beloved artists of children's books. Creator of the classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar, he has captured the imagination of millions of children and adults with his bold, colorful collage illustrations. Eric Carle's life and work are explored in this comprehensive portrait that includes more than sixty full-color illustrations… See more details below

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Eric Carle is one of the world's most beloved artists of children's books. Creator of the classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar, he has captured the imagination of millions of children and adults with his bold, colorful collage illustrations. Eric Carle's life and work are explored in this comprehensive portrait that includes more than sixty full-color illustrations from his books; artwork from his student days; a moving autobiographical account of his life, with photographs; anecdotal reflections by Ann Beneduce, his longtime friend and editor of The Very Hungry Caterpillar; essays on the power of his art by his German publisher, Viktor Christen, and Takeshi Matsumoto, curator at the Chihiro Iwasaki Museum in Tokyo; an insightful speech by Eric Carle originally given at the Children's Literature Center in the Library of Congress; a photographic essay on how he creates his collages; and a full-color illustrated bibliography of all of his books.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
This highly original collage of words and pictures by and about Eric Carle echoes Carle's artistic style, hailed by one contributor for its "powerful simplicity. . . clear shapes. . . bold colors. . . and the stories that teach without being didactic." Central to the book are Carle's autobiography, a reprint of his 1990 Library of Congress speech, and his art-a photo essay, book illustrations, and an international bibliography. Other voices add shading. A brief introduction, for example, in which Carle's American editor recounts their working relationship, provides critical context. His German editor examines the dramatic elements in Carle's stories. And a Japanese art curator speaks of colors "far beyond any human sense of color." Like Carle's books for children, the inviting page design encourages careful consideration of what he calls his "dabs of color"-the personal and professional influences upon artistic style. The book will engage adolescents and adults already familiar with Carle's work, but it is especially suited to professionals interested in the origins of creativity.-Sue Burgess, Framingham (MA) State College
Kirkus Reviews
The Art Of Eric Carle ( Sept. 4, 1996; 125 pp.; 0-399- 22937-X): An agreeable overview of Carle's life and work, a consideration of the genesis of his ideas, a look at how he fashions his collages, and admiring words from some of his colleagues. There are repetitions, e.g., the story of how The Very Hungry Caterpillar came into existence is related at least three times. Throughout are photographs and reproductions of art; the book closes with more samples of Carle's work and an international bibliography of his published books.

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
10 Years

Meet the Author

Eric Carle is acclaimed and beloved as the creator of brilliantly illustrated and innovatively designed picture books for very young children. His best-known work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has eaten its way into the hearts of literally millions of children all over the world and has been translated into more than 25 languages and sold over twelve million copies. Since the Caterpillar was published in 1969, Eric Carle has illustrated more than sixty books, many best sellers, most of which he also wrote.

Born in Syracuse, New York, in 1929, Eric Carle moved with his parents to Germany when he was six years old; he was educated there, and graduated from the prestigious art school, the Akademie der bildenden Kunste, in Stuttgart. But his dream was always to return to America, the land of his happiest childhood memories. So, in 1952, with a fine portfolio in hand and forty dollars in his pocket, he arrived in New York. Soon he found a job as a graphic designer in the promotion department of The New York Times. Later, he was the art director of an advertising agency for many years.

One day, respected educator and author, Bill Martin Jr, called to ask Carle to illustrate a story he had written. Martin's eye had been caught by a striking picture of a red lobster that Carle had created for an advertisement. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? was the result of their collaboration. It is still a favorite with children everywhere. This was the beginning of Eric Carle's true career. Soon Carle was writing his own stories, too. His first wholly original book was 1,2,3 to the Zoo, followed soon afterward by the celebrated classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Eric Carle's art is distinctive and instantly recognizable. His art work is created in collage technique, using hand-painted papers, which he cuts and layers to form bright and cheerful images. Many of his books have an added dimension - die-cut pages, twinkling lights as in The Very Lonely Firefly, even the lifelike sound of a cricket's song as in The Very Quiet Cricket - giving them a playful quality: a toy that can be read, a book that can be touched. Children also enjoy working in collage and many send him pictures they have made themselves, inspired by his illustrations. He receives hundreds of letters each week from his young admirers. The secret of Eric Carle's books' appeal lies in his intuitive understanding of and respect for children, who sense in him instinctively someone who shares their most cherished thoughts and emotions.

The themes of his stories are usually drawn from his extensive knowledge and love of nature - an interest shared by most small children. Besides being beautiful and entertaining, his books always offer the child the opportunity to learn something about the world around them. It is his concern for children, for their feelings and their inquisitiveness, for their creativity and their intellectual growth that, in addition to his beautiful artwork, makes the reading of his books such a stimulating and lasting experience.

Carle says: "With many of my books I attempt to bridge the gap between the home and school. To me home represents, or should represent; warmth, security, toys, holding hands, being held. School is a strange and new place for a child. Will it be a happy place? There are new people, a teacher, classmates - will they be friendly? I believe the passage from home to school is the second biggest trauma of childhood; the first is, of course, being born. Indeed, in both cases we leave a place of warmth and protection for one that is unknown. The unknown often brings fear with it. 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."

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Group (USA) Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

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Brief Biography

Northampton, Massachusetts and the Berkshires
Date of Birth:
June 25, 1929
Place of Birth:
Syracuse, New York
Akademie der bildenden Künste, Stuttgart, 1946-50

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