From the Desk of Eric Carle

Books with an Extra Something

The Grouchy Ladybug, HarperCollins, 1977. This ladybug is not just grouchy, she’s fighting mad! She picks a fight with another ladybug, only to decide that she’s not big enough to satisfy the kind of fight this meany wants to have. As they turn the die-cut pages that grow larger as the ladybug picks on increasingly larger animals, children learn a social lesson about acceptance, while also learning about size and telling time.

The Very Busy Spider, Philomel Books, 1984. A spider spends a very busy day spinning a web, repeatedly ignoring all the barnyard animals that try to distract her. The repetition of the phrase “She was very busy spinning her web” and the raised spider web that grows with every page are sure to engage even the earliest readers.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Penguin, 1969. For years, kids have loved watching this little caterpillar grow from an egg into a cocoon and then into a beautiful butterfly for years, and they will keep cherishing it for years to come. Carle’s vibrant collage illustrations and die-cut pages teach the days of the week, counting and the benefits of good nutrition.

The Very Quiet Cricket, Philomel Books, 1990. The tiny cricket wants to say hello to the other insects he meets, but whenever he rubs his legs together, nothing happens until he meets another very beautiful cricket. There’s a microchip implanted in the back cover designed to go off when the last page is turned, so that readers can hear exactly what it sounds like when the very quiet cricket is quiet no more.

Where Are You Going? To See My Friend!, by Eric Carle and Kazuo Iwamura, Orchard Books, 2001. From left to right, Eric Carle illustrates the story of a dog going off to meet his friend and collecting even more friends in the process. From right to left, Kazuo Iwamura writes the same story in Japanese until the two stories meet in the middle, where a boy and a girl sing and dance together, mingling language, culture and artistic styles.

Books with Bill Martin Jr.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Henry Holt and Co., 1967. This rhyming question-and-answer book focuses on animals of a variety of different colors.

Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?, Henry Holt and Co., 2003. In Eric Carle’s most recent picture book, he again teams up with Bill Martin Jr. – this time to bring us a call-and-response story focusing on endangered animals and one sleeping child who is watching over all of the animals.

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, Scholastic, 1991. This rhyming question-and-answer text lets children mimic the sounds of zoo animals – just as the kids at the zoo at the end of the book do.

Do You Want to Be My Friend?
, HarperCollins, 1971. There are hardly any words in this book for pre-readers, but it still manages to tell the story of a tiny mouse looking for friendship. Pre-readers will learn to turn pages and make up their own story to follow the picture of a mouse approaching various animals who don’t want to be his friend.

Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too?
HarperCollins, 2000. This question and response book introduces kids to baby animals and repeats the idea that every kind of animal has a mother, “just like me and you.”

Flora and Tiger: 19 Very Short Stories From My Life
Philomel Books, 1997. This collection of stories from Carle’s life came in direct response to children who had grown up with his picture books and wanted to know if he wrote any “real books.”

A House for Hermit Crab
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1987. As readers watch a hermit crab move from house to house as he outgrows his shell, they’ll get an introduction to marine biology and a subtle message about how sometimes we have to say goodbye to the things we love in order to move forward.

Little Cloud, Philomel Books, 1996. A young cloud drifts away from the larger, older clouds and shifts its shape to become a sheep, a plane, a shark, a clown and more, before it rejoins the others to help make rain. 

… And For the Winter

Dream Snow, Philomel Books, 2000. A farmer wonders how it can almost be Christmas with no snow on the ground. As he sleeps, he dreams of a snow so fierce that it covers him and all of the animals on his farm, only to wake up and find it really has happened. He then rushes out into the fresh snow to leave a Christmas surprise.

Want to learn more about this very creative children's author?
Read our Conversation with Eric Carle.