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Today we honor the loss of children's author Eric Carle, whose imagination was as bright as his stories. Do you have a favorite from his classics?

RIP Eric Carle: Revisit the timeless children’s book by the author

On May 23rd, the beloved author Eric Carle passed away at the age of ninety-one. Every children’s book by Eric Carle bursts with bright colors and fascinating creatures, but the author is mostly known for his internationally cherished book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which was released in 1969. 

With over seventy enchanting books, it’s surprising to learn the writer hadn’t started his career until he was nearly forty years old! Having lived through World War II in Germany, experiencing its violence & aftermath firsthand, Carle would later turn to illustration and a career rich with color. 

We all know & love Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar images & story, yet he has countless works which delighted children & adults alike. Let’s take a look at some of the most loved books by Eric Carle.

The Very Busy Spider

The titular busy spider is colored with shades of red, orange, green, and blue. After being blown away towards a farm yard, she must quickly build her web without interruption. However, she is soon distracted by the various farm animals including a horse, sheep, goat, and dog. Yet, determined as she is, the spider remains focused on the task at hand. 

This dear book taught many young readers, including ourselves, not only the different types of farm animals but also the importance of determination. The result of her hard work is a perfect web which lies beneath the night’s stars. Released in 1984, The Very Busy Spider has remained a children’s book classic. 

The Grouchy Ladybug

As two ladybugs simultaneously find a leaf covered in aphids, the friendly ladybug offers to share. However, the grouchy ladybug refuses and demands a fight! The grouchy ladybug then remarks that the friendly ladybug isn’t big enough to fight. Thus, the grouchy ladybug searches throughout the land, meeting different animals on her quest to find a worthy opponent. 

It isn’t until the grouchy ladybug comes across a blue whale who doesn’t speak to him but simply smacks him with his large tail. The grouchy ladybug is then slapped right back where he started with the friendly ladybug. The friendly insect offers the rest of the aphids due to the rough day the grouchy ladybug had endured. They peacefully finish their dinner as the day ends. 

The Grouchy Ladybug offers a story which teaches children diverse insects, animals, and even the different times of the day. Yet, the moral of the story remains that those who are mean never get what they want. This book helps children understand their feelings and build empathy & compassion for others. 

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

A purple cat and a blue horse spark children’s imaginations while learning about different animals and the act of stating what you see. Altogether simple yet creative, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? reinforces the concept of color while inspiring children to explore the animals & environment around them.  

It’s shocking to discover that this rather simple children’s book was once banned by the Texas Board of Education. Not for its “illogical” use of color but for possible Marxist content. Perhaps the blue horse was too blue for their taste!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Released in 1969, The Very Hungry Caterpillar tells the story of a growing caterpillar who eats everything in sight. This would include leaves, apples, pears, plums, oranges, strawberries, chocolate cake, ice cream, a pickle, swiss cheese, salami, a lollipop, cherry pie, sausage, and a cupcake. 

The book not only teaches kids about the metamorphosis of a caterpillar but also the inevitability of change in life. The caterpillar adapts into his transformation, spinning his chrysalis, and turning into a colorful and beautiful butterfly.

The charming simplicity and unique illustrations make these children’s books by Eric Carle ones to last for ages. With over seventy works, a child will never grow tired of the vibrant animals & insects who teach the basic life lessons.

What are your favorite books by Eric Carle? Let us know in the comments below!

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