50th Anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle!

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Eric Carle’s beloved book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar reached its 50th Anniversary this past June of 2019! As a child, I can remember sitting in Art class while our teacher read this book. The pages were so bright and eye-catching that I instantly fell in love with it! Each page is as colorful as the next and tells a different story beyond what the text tells.

Photograph was taken at the Chrysler Museum.

As a celebration of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the Chrysler Museum of Art displayed original works by Eric Carle. This exhibit was held from June 14th – September 8th, 2019. I wish I would have visited it sooner to share with all of you but there is still some great information you can share with your children!

In every 30 seconds, somewhere in the world, a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar is being sold!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar was published in 1969. This is Eric Carle’s most famous book and the United States didn’t even want to print it. They knew it would be challenging to do so because they were incapable of printing different sized pages and pages that contained die-cut holes. So, The Very Hungry Caterpillar was first published in Japan but as of today, it has been printed in sixty-two different languages.

Did you know that The Very Hungry Caterpillar was originally supposed to be a story about a worm?!

It’s true! The caterpillar in the story was originally a worm. Eric Carle was carelessly punching holes in stacks of paper when the idea of a bookworm came to his mind. The book was called A week with Willi the Worm. Later on, Eric’s editor didn’t enjoy the idea of a worm and brought the idea of a caterpillar to light. This sparked Eric’s creativity and he simply responded with the word “butterfly!”

But why is The Hungry Caterpillar so popular among children?

This caterpillar story has been around for a long time now. Many people can remember reading this story as a child and even today, adults still read it to their children. It is a book that can be passed on from generation to generation.

Eric Carle isn’t completely sure why this book has become so popular but he imagines it has something to do with hope. Children can see the caterpillar as a helpless small creature and then experience fulfillment as the child sees the small caterpillar turn into this amazing butterfly. Eric believes it shows children that one day they will open their wings and fly into the world.

How does Eric Carle create his masterpieces?

He spends a lot of time painting several layers onto tissue paper! Eric hand-paints tissue paper with acrylic paint. Afterward, he adds some texture by using old pieces of carpet and creates patterns using the handle end of his paintbrush. Lastly, he rips and cuts up the pieces of tissue paper and applies it to the illustration board.

Other Books by Eric Carle

  • Draw Me a Star
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
  • From Head to Toe
  • The Very Quiet Cricket
  • The Mixed-Up Chameleon
  • A House For Hermit Crab
  • 1, 2, 3 To The Zoo
  • Papa, Please Get The Moon For Me


Seth Feman. A Conversation with Eric Carle. ‘The Chrysler Spring 2019 Catalog’

What is your favorite Eric Carle Book? Tell me in the comments below!

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