Childrens Book day : Eric Carle

Since 1967, on Hans Christen Andersons birthday, International Children’s Book Day has been celebrated.

Reading with your children creates a special bond; it’s a wonderful time to give them your time and attention, to be quiet and relax and to introduce them to the magical world of books, a truly precious gift.

The books you read as a child stay with you for life. For me, being a predominantly visual person, I was naturally drawn to the illustrations. As adults we have little time to indulge our inner child but revisiting these books immediately transports me back to childhood.

Author/Illustrator Eric Carle’s beautifully simple stories and mesmerising, brightly coloured illustrations do just this for me. Through re-reading Carles books to my children, I can share some of these precious memories from my own childhood.

Born June 25, 1929, Carle is most famous for his book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which has been translated into over 30 languages. Since The Very Hungry Caterpillar was published in 1969, he has illustrated more than seventy books, most of which he also wrote and many are best sellers. More than 71 million copies of his books have sold around the world.

Eric Carle in his studio.

Born June 25, 1929, Carle is most famous for his book The Very Hungry Caterpillar (below), which has been translated into over 30 languages. Since The Very Hungry Caterpillar was published in 1969, he has illustrated more than seventy books, most of which he also wrote and many are best sellers. More than 71 million copies of his books have sold around the world.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s mixed media collage-style images bring me straight back to childhood. Mine and my children’s current favorites are The Artist Who Painted a Blue horse, Below (2011) and Slowly Slowly (2002). 

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse is so simple; inspired by the work of Franz Marc, it follows the paintings of animals, the colours becoming more and more outrageous until it ends with a Polka dotted donkey! The final page states ‘I am a good artist’, daring the readers to look outside the box. I love this book and find it completely inspiring every time we read it. 

My second favorite book by Eric Carle is Slowly, Slowly (below) this book is inspired by the animals of The Amazon. The illustrations are, of course, fantastic, this time using colours more true to nature, but still being in his wonderful collage style. The book follows a sloth through his days and nights, slowly, slowly, slowly, During the book he is confronted by a caveman, anteater and jaguar asking why he is so…slow, so boring and so lazy. Being called lazy is the last straw for the sloth; he finally speaks up:

“It is true that I am slow, quiet

and boring. I am lackadaisical,

I dawdle and I dillydally.

I am also unflappable, languid,

Stoic, impassive, sluggish,

Lethargic, placid, calm, mellow,

Laid-back and well, slothful!

I am relaxed and tranquil

And I like to live in peace.

But I am not Lazy”.

“That’s just how I am.

I Iike to do things

      Slowly,

          Slowly,

              Slowly.”

Eric Carles books bring us so much joy, if you want to view all of his books visit his website www.eric-carle.com