Aug 10, 2009

the very fascinating artist

If you've got a little one around, chances are there is at least one or two or three Eric Carle books on your bookshelf.  An even greater chance you have been asked to read them over and over...and over again. Who doesn't love Eric Carle?  Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Draw me A Star,  Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me.   Oh and of course the very very cool ones like... The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Busy Spider, The Very Quiet Cricket. The boys and I are fans.

I had a hunch there was a story behind his stories.  And what a story it is!  A life-changing move as a child living in  New York back to his parents' hometown in Germany. A father held captive in a Russian prison. Living in fear and surviving  strict discipline in his new German school.  And the ultimate result:  his vow, as an artist,  to help children enjoy school more than he ever did.  I now have a clearer, better understanding of Eric Carle.  I love his books even more. If that is even possible.

On his move back to Berlin: "When it became apparent that we would not return, I decided that I would become a bridge builder. I would build a bridge from Germany to America and take my beloved German grandmother by the hand across the wide ocean." 
How the difficult days in a rigid school inspired his  books:  "I am fascinated by the period in a child's life when he or she, for the first time, leaves home to go to school. I should like my books to bridge that great divide."
On how long walks, filled with stories and discovery,  helped jump-start his love affair with nature:  "My father would turn over a rock and show me the little creatures that scurried and slithered about. I try to recall that feeling when I write my books."
Emma Brockes'  article This one's got legs,  over at the Guardian,  does a great job  of helping us see what's behind the man and his pages.  You can read it right here 
On my little trip down nosey-lane, I also discovered Eric Carle has his own blog . How cool is that.  A perfect little corner that answers some of my own whys and hows. A look into his current passions, including the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art . An opportunity to give us a glimpse of what a day in his life is like.  And a rare treat to fill us in on where he finds inspiration.  

A sort of VIP-pass into the mind and heart of one of our most beloved storytellers.  Doesn't get better than this.


Nona said...

His museum is in Boston right? If ever we are in those parts... the kiddos should go there! Life would be dreary without the likes of Carle, Seuss, Sendak, Crews....

Cely said...

Shame on me, I didn't know Eric Carle before your post. I will look around to find his books; they really look great! Thanks!

Nana said...

Nona: Let's go! Maybe while Pappy and MacDaddy join the all-famous marathon in the vicinity?

Cely: Never too late! A great start is The Very Hungry Caterpillar. A favorite over at our house and of millions all over the world

Barni said...

Hi guys. The very series was the way my kids got into books. The colors are stunning, but they're so brilliantly gimmicky with all the light and sound. Great for keeping the kids focused when they are just months old. Where did I read that the Busy Spider is about work, the Lonely Firefly is about belonging, the Hungry Caterpillar is about change (?), and the Quiet Cricket is about love.

In case you don't already know - Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me, Hungry Caterpillar, and Quiet Cricket are all on YouTube. I also just found Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann. :)

Nana said...

That's so cool, Barns! And I didn't know Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me is on YouTube. Gotta love YouTube!