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Beloved children's book author and artist Eric Carle dies at 91

Eric Carle, author and artist of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and more than 70 other children's books, passed away this week at the age of 91.


What are the details?

NPR reported that Carle's family said in a statement that the author "passed away peacefully surrounded by family members on May 23, 2021 at his summer studio in Northampton, Massachusetts."

The outlet noted that Carle was nearly 40 years old before he began his famous life's work of illustration and writing, and he was inspired by his childhood memories walking through nature with his father.

Carle was born in New York, but returned to Germany with his immigrant parents prior to World War II.

During that time, NPR reported:

Carle was beaten by teachers and shot at by soldiers, and his beloved father disappeared into a Russian prisoner-of-war camp for years after being drafted to fight for the Nazis. The man who wrote The Very Hungry Caterpillar experienced hunger firsthand.

Upon Carle's return to the U.S. at the age of 23, he began working for The New York Times.

The New York Times reported that "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" has "sold more than 55 million copies around the world since it was first published in 1969, its mere 224 words translated into more than 70 languages."

"I didn't think it was going to be an extraordinary book," Carle told Entertainment Weekly in 1994, as the book turned 25. "But children love it. Caterpillar reassures young kids that 'you scrawny, ugly little thing will grow up and fly and display your talent and beauty."'

Other famous books of Carle's include "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" and "The Very Busy Spider." 

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