Beloved Very Hungry Caterpillar author dies aged 91

The author of the famous children’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has died aged 91.

Eric Carle wrote and illustrated more than 70 books for young children, selling more than 170 million copies.

He died on Sunday at his summer studio in Northampton, Massachusetts, from kidney failure.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar was Mr Carle’s best-known book, which charmed generations of children and parents alike.

More than 55 million copies have been sold around the world since it was first published in 1969.



Michelle Martin, the Beverly Cleary professor for children and youth services at the University of Washington, told The Atlantic magazine in 2019 that if you didn’t have a good grasp of the book, “you are children’s-book illiterate”.

Mr Carle once said he liked to counteract the fear of the unknown in his books and “replace it with a positive message”.

“I believe that children are naturally creative and eager to learn. I want to show them that learning is really both fascinating and fun,” he said.

The book tells the story of the metamorphosis of a colourful caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly and uses distinctive collage illustrations, teaching children about counting, foods and the life stages of the animal.

Mr Carle said he chose to portray animals in unconventional colours to show young readers that in art, there was no wrong colour.

“It sounds corny, but I think I connect with the child in me, and I think others do, too,” he told The Associated Press in 2003.

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