Monday, October 18, 2010

Spotlight On... Eric Carle

--by Hanje Richards

Eric Carle (born June 25, 1929) is a children's book author and illustrator. He has illustrated more than 70 books, including many best sellers (most of which he also wrote). More than 88 million copies of his books have sold worldwide.

Eric Carle’ s art is distinctive and instantly recognizable. His art work is created in collage technique, using hand-painted papers which he cuts and layers to form bright and colorful images. Many of his books have an added dimension — die-cut pages, twinkling lights, even the lifelike sounds. Carle's readers often use his work as an example and create collages themselves that they often send to Carle; he receives hundreds of letters each week from his young admirers.

The themes of his stories are usually drawn from his extensive knowledge and love of nature — an interest shared by most small children. Carle attempts to make his books not only entertaining, but also educational, offering his readers the opportunity to learn something about the world around them. When writing, Carle attempts to recognize children's feelings, inquisitiveness and creativity, as well as to stimulate their intellectual growth; it is for these reasons (in addition to his unique artwork) that many feel his books have been such a success.

Do You Want To Be My Friend? - From horse to crocodile to giraffe, no one wants to be the little mouse's friend, until he meets up with a friendly, familiar face — and not a moment too soon!

Dream Snow - A farmer lives alone on a small farm with so few animals that he calls them One, Two, Three, Four, and Five. Oh, he also has a tree named Tree. One night near Christmas, he falls asleep in his favorite chair after his peppermint tea and dreams that he is covered in a white blanket. On successive pages, One the horse, Two the cow, Three the sheep, and so on are each covered in a snowflake blanket, accomplished by an acetate page of flakes and an amorphous shape that, when turned, reveals the animal. When the farmer awakes and finds it has snowed for real, he dresses himself warmly, decorates Tree, and strews gifts for all five animals under it.

Eric Carle’s Dragons: Dragons and Other Creatures That Never Were - From dragons and griffins to mermaids and bunyips, mythological creatures abound in this joyous treasury of poetry celebrating mythology and legends from around the world. Eric Carle's playful and vibrantly-colored collages illustrate the fantastic beasts in more than 30 poems from renowned writers.

Grouchy Ladybug - Progressing through a series of brilliantly colored die-cut pages, a bad-tempered braggart becomes a nicer, happier, better-behaved bug.

Have You Seen My Cat? - A little boy's cat is missing; he embarks on a fantastic round-the-world quest to find his lost pet. Along the way, he meets lots of interesting people and sees many beautiful members of the cat family, including lions and tigers and panthers. But over and over again, he has to say, "This is not my cat!" until at last he finds the cat he's looking for — who has a delightful surprise for him.

Hello, Red Fox - It's Little Frog's birthday, and Mama Frog gets a big surprise when the guests show up for his party — all the animals are the wrong color! Little Frog tells her she's not looking long enough, and he's right.

Hole in the Dike - This abridged adaptation of Mary Mapes Dodge's classic tale about a boy who saves Holland from a disastrous flood is enlivened by Carle's bright and authentic collage illustrations.

House for Hermit Crab - Hermit Crab's problem is that he keeps outgrowing things. When he outgrows his first shell-house, he's a bit scared. The next one he finds is big enough — but depressingly bare. To his happy surprise, all sorts of beautiful and useful undersea neighbors come to his aid and decorate and protect his home. Finally, the new house is perfect but now it, too, has become too small! Once again, Hermit Crab must move on. But this time, he is not only bigger — he is more self confident. While he is sorry to leave his friends and his familiar shell behind, he now sees the future as full ofexciting possibilities.

Lamb and the Butterfly - A lamb and a butterfly have a conversation during which the habits and behavioral traits of each creature are revealed. The lamb is bound to the earth and closely tied to its mother's side; the butterfly, on the other hand, is free of the pull of the earth and of maternal bonds.

Little Cloud - The clouds drift across the bright blue sky — all except one. Little Cloud trails behind. He is busy changing shapes to become a fluffy sheep, a zooming airplane, and even a clown with a funny hat. Eric Carle's trademark collages will make every reader want to run outside and discover their very own little cloud.

Mixed-Up Chameleon - Except for catching flies and changing colors occasionally, this chameleon doesn't find life very exciting. When a surprise visit to the zoo makes this wistful lizard realize it can change its shape and size as easily as its color, it ends up wanting to be like all the animals in the zoo at once — with hilarious results.
Mountain That Loved a Bird - A beautiful bird named Joy stops one day to visit a mountain. Every spring, she flies high in the air, looking for the best place to build her nest and raise her children. As much as Joy would like to stay with the mountain, she must leave to continue her search. After hearing the mountain's pleas for her to stay, Joy is so touched she makes a very special promise that each spring the mountain will be visited by one of her kin. Over time, the birds bring about a wonderful change in the mountain — a change that will transform the mountain forever.

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? - The polar bear hears a lion roaring, who hears a hippopotamus snorting, who hears a flamingo fluting, who hears a zebra braying, and so on through a varied list of animals. At last, the zookeeper announces that he hears children roaring, snorting, fluting, etc.

Rooster’s Off to See the World - One fine morning, a rooster sets off to see the world. Soon, he's joined by two cats, then three frogs, then four turtles, then five fish. But one group by one, his new friends decide to head home, leaving the rooster alone again — and ready to return to his own comfortable home as well. Bold, colorful collage illustrations, a beguiling story, and a simple introduction to number sets, addition, and subtraction distinguish this book.

Tiny Seed - This picture book conveys the miracle of a seed. Flower pods burst and dispatch their seeds on the wind; the airborne seeds are subject to myriad disasters; and the ones that make it through the perils of the seasons to become mature flowering plants are still susceptible to being picked, trod upon, and otherwise damaged. But nature allows for survivors, and so the tiny seed grows into a giant flower, releasing its seeds and continuing the cycle.