Eric Carle, author of the popular children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, died at the age of 91, according to his family.
In an announcement from Penguin Young Leaders, the family said the beloved children’s writer and illustrator died Sunday at his summer studio in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Released in 1969, Very Hungry Caterpillar was greeted by parents and enthusiastic children with its story of the metamorphosis of a green and red caterpillar with hints of blue and brown into a proudly colorful butterfly.
Originally conceived as a book about a bookworm – A Week with Willi the Worm – the hero who eats 26 different foods has been turned into a caterpillar on the advice of his editor.
It was sold around 40 million times and translated into 60 languages, caterpillars were produced and turned into a stage play.
Mr. Carle told the New York Times in 1994, “I remember that as a child I always felt that I would never grow up and be tall, articulate, and intelligent.
“Caterpillar is a book of hope: You too can grow up and grow wings.”
Mr. Carle wrote and / or illustrated more than 75 books, sometimes in collaboration with other authors, but most of them worked alone with him.
One of his last books was The Nonsense Show in 2015, which was about a parade of flying fish, cat-taming mice and circus animals.
The subject of children ruling the world has been dealt with in other stories of living beings with “very” great predicaments: the very busy spider, the very quiet cricket, the very lonely firefly and friends.
Family love was found in books like Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me and Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother too?
In 2002, Mr. Carle and his late wife Barbara Carle founded the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.
The non-profit arts center, based in Amherst, Massachusetts, is a showcase for picture book illustration from around the world.
Mr. Carle has received lifetime achievement awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Library Association.
He is survived by a son and a daughter.