First published in 1969, The Very Hungry Caterpillar has been a perennial favorite and a staple, it would seem, in all childhood reading experiences. And today, March 20th, we celebrate the caterpillar and his many pieces of fruit and food and leaves he devours on his quest to becoming a butterfly.
So here’s my Eric Carle story.
I have a signed copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, personalized to me and everything, which Eric Carle signed for me at an event when I was a kid. Because of his immense popularity, every kid was only allowed to have one book signed. My brother brought his favorite, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and I brought The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
I also brought a recent art project I’d completed at school, wherein the teacher instructed us to create a picture in the style of Eric Carle — collage art, created from cut up pieces of construction paper.
Eric Carle signed my brother’s book. He signed my book. And then he unfurled my artwork — a large piece of paper, maybe about 18″ x 24″ in size, and spent a good portion of time studying it. He asked me about the process of making it and how I’d put the piece together. After studying it again, he nodded, marked it with a large “A+” and signed that, as well.
I’m sad to say that my mom doesn’t know what happened to the artwork; she thinks it may have been destroyed by rats or lost in a move, since she wouldn’t have gotten rid of that on purpose. But we can’t find it anywhere.
But the memory of that encounter — possibly my first author signing ever — has stayed with me for all this time, about 25 years! (Ugh, I’m old.)
I also still have that signed, personalized copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Want to celebrate The Very Hungry Caterpillar with some kiddos in your life? Download the VHC Day Activity Packet here, courtesy of Penguin Books.
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Thanks to Penguin, you can also enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (ARV: $21.99 each).
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