Eric Carle’s picture books:
50th anniversary of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”
Wilhelm Busch – The German Museum for Caricature and the Art of Drawing, Hanover
18 May – 8 September 2019
“One Sunday morning, the warm sun came up and – pop! – out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar.” The “Very Hungry Caterpillar” has been munching his way through all sorts of delicious food over the past fifty years so that he can flutter through the air as a butterfly at the end of his culinary journey. Written and designed in 1969 by the American children’s book author and illustrator, Eric Carle, this picture book, is one of the best-known in the world having sold 146 million copies and been translated into 66 languages.
And the “Very Hungry Caterpillar” is not the only one to reach a milestone. The author himself is celebrating his 90th birthday today, 25 June 2019. To mark the occasion, the Wilhelm Busch – German Museum for Caricature and the Art of Drawing is the only museum in Europe to be holding a birthday exhibition from May to September 2019 featuring original works from 23 picture books. The exhibition has been designed in collaboration with Eric Carle and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art which he founded in 2002. As well as having his pictures on display, the exhibition uses photos, videos and various material examples, to convey an insight into Carle’s working methods and his life’s work.
The illustrations of his works have an iconic recognition factor. Their modesty and naivety is unique; they do not try to overwhelm the viewer with richly detailed complexity, but captivate the viewer with a lively style, a conscious use of primary colours and the wonderfully offbeat characters.
To create these, the artist paints thin tissue paper and cuts it into the desired shape after drying and assembles it into caterpillars, beetles, bears and sloths. The delightful stories tell of friendship, childhood, culture and journeys. Each story includes a little bit of wisdom and encouragement to be yourself and therefore exactly as you should be.