Friday, October 18, 2019
Eric Carle, Hungry Caterpillar to be Feted by Community Library
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Tuesday, June 25, 2019
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

It’s said that every 30 seconds someone in the world buys a copy of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

And, in those 30 seconds, another child gets to cut his or her teeth on the story of a hungry caterpillar that binges on chocolate cake, ice cream, a pickle, a slice of salami, Swiss cheese, cherry pie and munch, munch more.

Carle, who lives in Key West, Fla., turns 90 today, and his picture book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” turns 50. And the Community Library is holding a birthday party for Eric Carle and his caterpillar from 3 to 5 p.m. today—Tuesday, June 25—in the Children’s Library.

The event will involve activities, crafts, readings, food and a special photo opportunity.

“Eric Carle’s simple message, subtle humor and engaging artwork make it, in my opinion, irresistible,” said Children’s Librarian Lee Dabney, who organized the event. “This amazing book that I loved as a child growing up in the 1970s continues to be a favorite of children today. No matter how many times I hear or read ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar,’ I am still so thrilled when he emerges as a beautiful butterfly!”

Carle was born in the United States to German parents. They moved back to their native country when Eric was 6 because his mother was homesick. It turned out to be a bad move as World War II broke out shortly afterwards, Carle’s father was interred at a Russian prisoner-of-war camp and Eric Carle himself was shot at by soldiers.

Eric Carle returned to New York after the war with an art degree. He worked in advertising for The New York Times and in 1969 at age 40 created “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” which was translated into more than 62 languages.

His books’ appeal, one critic said, lies in his intuitive understanding of and respect for children, who sense in him someone who shares their cherished thoughts and emotions.

Carle himself called his book a book of hope, according to a video released by Penguin Random House.

“Children need hope. You, little insignificant caterpillar, can grow up into a beautiful butterfly and fly into the world with your talent,” he said.

 

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