Happy Birthday Very Hungry Caterpillar

Eric Carle's VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR turned 40 last Friday!

I found out about it on the Allen County Public Library's Mock Caldecott Website (I love this website -- the ACPL has been doing a mock Caldecott for many years and their reading list is always a fantastic overview of the best picture books of the year).

So I interupt my Spain posts (which will keep coming, trust me, I've got a bunch lined up and ready to go) to celebrate an author/illustrator that is especially dear to me, Eric Carle...

Here's some really awesome Eric Carle things you should check out:
  1. He made this video to celebrate the Very Hungry Caterpillar's 40th birthday!
  2. His BLOG! I love it.
  3. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. I so want to go there.
How Eric Carle has influenced me:

In 2006, the Tacoma Art Museum featured an art exhibit with Eric Carle originals. I also went to hear Eric Carle speak when he came as part of the Seattle Arts and Lectures the same year (a promotion for the TAM exhibit). Together, the events were transformative for me. As I watched a video of Eric Carle making his work at the museum I felt cartoony lighbulbs light up above my head. There were so many small things he was doing that I could see appling to my own work -- right where I was struggling, too. I bought the video from the bookstore and have watched it many times since.

The top two things Eric Carle helped me with:
-Loosening up my drawing: he draws FAST. Sometimes when I'm really struggling with something I channel Eric Carle. What would Eric Carle do? He wouldn't agonize, he would just draw whatever quickly and from the heart. So I try drawing quickly. It helps.
-The way he lays down his collage using a template. Alleluia choruses went off in my head the first time I saw him do this in the video. He inspired me to develop my own template technique and it has expanded what I can do with collage about 50-fold. THANK YOU ERIC CARLE!

But back to the exhibit and the lecture. Even better than the exhibit, honestly, was hearing Eric Carle interact with the kids who had come to hear him speak at the lecture. He listened to their questions so intently. He got to the heart of their questions and answered so sincerely. I write and illustrate because of that kind of heart -- both his and theirs.

After the talk Eric Carle signed books. Even though I was basketball-sized pregnant at the time I put myself at the end of the line. If he ran out of time, I didn't want him to run out of time for the kids. One of the very last books he signed for the evening was my son's baby book (which was empty and new at the time but now is full to the seams and is one of my most beloved journals):

P.S. My own personal favorite Eric Carle Book is LITTLE CLOUD:
Happy Birthday, VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR!