When I say ‘Eric Car­le’ you prob­a­bly think instant­ly of The Very Hun­gry Cater­pil­lar. What you prob­a­bly don’t know about Mr. Car­le is that he had a cray cray life before he start­ed writ­ing and illus­trat­ing children’s lit­er­a­ture.  He was born in Amer­i­ca in 1929 but his fam­i­ly moved back to Ger­many when he was 6, and he grad­u­at­ed from the local art school there. When he was 15, the Ger­man gov­ern­ment draft­ed him to help dig the Siegfried Line. He saw some hor­ri­ble shit doing that, he would say lat­er that his wife thought he had PTSD from it, and he didn’t like to talk about it. Go fig­ure.

Since he was born an Amer­i­can, he was always eager to get back to the states. He came back over with $40 when he was 23. He start­ed work­ing at The New York Times as a graph­ic design­er. Then he got draft­ed into the US Army dur­ing the Kore­an War, sta­tioned in Ger­many (WTF REALLY?!) as a mail clerk. He went back to The New York Times after that, and then went on to be an art direc­tor at an adver­tis­ing agen­cy.

It wasn’t until the age of 38 that he start­ed doing his for­re­al thang. He col­lab­o­rat­ed with Bill Mar­t­in. Jr. on a book called Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? From there it was ENTIRELY DOWNHILL! He wrote over 70 books. SEVENTY! The book that stands out from my child­hood is The Grouchy Lady­bug, because well, chil­dren with an at-ee-tood can relate.

LOOK AT THEM ALL!

SO MANY.

SO MANY.

Now that you’ve been schooled on Eric Car­le, I sug­gest you get to buy­ing all of the­se books for every child you know because OH MY HEAVENS are they per­fect. Adorable, mean­ing­ful, and have I freak­ing men­tioned adorable? Hap­py birth­day, Eric Car­le!

So, what do you think?