Eric Carle is known for his striking collage illustrations. Many of the books he illustrated are considered children’s classics - “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” by Bill Martin Jr., “The Very Lonely Firefly”, and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” among many others. Recently I heard a great interview with Eric Carle on NPR and he was talking about children, their artwork and how they should not be taught to “color in the lines”. This is a concept that some of us have trouble with – knowing when it is the right time to teach children that there is a “right” way of doing things, but also that it is important for them to be free to create in their own way. You can listen to this interview at: http://www.npr.org/2011/10/08/141057271/the-blue-horse-that-inspired-a-childrens-book If you were to ask young children what it is about Eric Carle’s illustrations that appeals to them (and they were able to articulate it) I think they would say that the colors are vibrant and the style is informal and abstract – qualities that often come through in children’s artwork.
Eric Carle was born in the United States but is of German descent and lived in Germany for many years during World War II. When he was a boy he saw the stylized images and unconventional colors of the German expressionist artists and was particularly impressed with the artwork of Franz Marc. Eric Carle’s latest book, “The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse”, illustrates how Franz Marc influenced his style in a series of boldly colored animal images. In the back of the book he shows Franz Marc’s own Blue Horse, so we can easily see the idea that became his own trademark style - colorful animals.
North Central Regional Library has MANY of Eric Carle’s books, so please CHECK THEM OUT! If you would like more information about Eric Carle or the Eric Carle Museum of Children’s Art go to these web links:
http://www.eric-carle.com/home.html has coloring pages, a newsletter from Eric Carle and merchandise for sale.
http://www.carlemuseum.org/Home explore Eric Carle’s website devoted to his museum, read articles and blogs in children’s literature, and see what exhibits are being shown at the Amherst, Massachusetts museum.
What’s your or your kids’ favorite Eric Carle book?