October 18, 2019–February 23, 2020

Eric Carle’s Picture Books: Celebrating 50 Years of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”

Upper-Level Galleries

  • Eric Carle. Illustration for The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Philomel Books). Collection of Eric and Barbara Carle. © 1969, 1987 Eric Carle

  • Eric Carle. Cover illustration for Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. (Holt, Rinehart & Winston). Collection of Eric and Barbara Carle, courtesy of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, Massachusetts. © 1967, 1984 Eric Carle

  • Eric Carle. Illustration for “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” said the Sloth (Philomel Books), 2001. Collection of Eric and Barbara Carle, courtesy of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, Massachusetts. © 2002 Eric Carle

  • Eric Carle. Illustration for The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Philomel Books). Collection of Eric and Barbara Carle, courtesy of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, Massachusetts. © 1969, 1987 Eric Carle

  • Eric Carle, 2015. Photo by Jim Gipe, Pivot Media. © Eric Carle Studio

Eric Carle (b. 1929) is one of the most acclaimed and beloved illustrators of our time. The creator of more than 70 books, Carle combines winsome stories and colorful forms that appeal to young readers and adults alike. His signature artistic technique is collage, made by hand-painting many sheets of tissue paper and then cutting, assembling, and gluing the paper onto illustration board.

This exhibition presents over 100 original artworks from five decades of Carle’s picture-book career. The illustrations span in date from Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Carle’s 1967 collaboration with author Bill Martin Jr., to The Nonsense Show, Carle’s playful ode to Surrealism, published in 2015. Twenty-one other familiar titles are also represented, with a special section devoted to the golden anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

While Carle’s stories are charming, they teach essential lessons, too. As children read about animals, families, and fables, they also learn their colors, letters, and numbers. Added design elements—such as holes, flaps, and sounds—make reading accessible and fun. For half a century, Carle has inspired children to fall in love with books.

Book Nooks
While visiting the exhibition, be sure to spend some time in our book nooks, where you can enjoy reading books by Eric Carle! His stories have been translated into many of the foreign languages spoken in our community, including French, Italian, Kurdish, Somali, and Spanish. There is also a Braille edition of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.


Eric Carle’s Picture Books: Celebrating 50 Years of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” was organized by The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, Massachusetts.

Photography of Eric Carle’s Picture Books: Celebrating 50 Years of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” for personal use is allowed. Flash, monopods, tripods, and video cameras are prohibited in all galleries.


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