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Reading Inspiration

7 times Eric Carle made us love the outdoors

From Brown Bears to Very Hungry Caterpillars, via seahorses, giraffes, leopards and flamingos, Eric Carle’s vibrant and imaginative art – created using tissue paper and collage techniques – helps us see the natural world in a totally unique and playful light. Here are seven times his artwork has made us fall in love with the great outdoors...


1. When the Very Hungry Caterpillar transformed into this beautiful butterfly.


Eric Carle The Very Hungry Caterpillar


This awe-inspiring picture book moment continues to dazzle us read after read.  We adore the butterfly’s hues of purple, blue, green and yellow and the careful patterns on his wings.  You can learn more about different types of butterfly over on Forestipedia.



2. When we first met Brown Bear.


Eric Carle Brown Bear


2017 was the 50th Anniversary of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle and Bill Martin Jr – a rhythmic, rhyming story with this extremely likeable bear at its heart.



3. When this bright purple walrus bellowed in our ear.


Eric Carle Walrus


Eric Carle’s exuberant, mischievous use of colour has given us blue horses, orange elephants and polka-dotted donkeys – and his perfectly purplish walrus had us at hello.  



4. When we saw a peacock fanning its tail.


Eric Carle Peacock


Another gorgeous character in Eric Carle’s rowdy menagerie is this stunning peacock in shades of emerald, blue and lime-green.



5. When we learnt about endangered species through pictures.


Eric Carle Penguin


Eric Carle and Bill Martin Jr have also created a special book about endangered animals: Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? It depicts some of the planet’s threatened creatures, including water buffalo, whooping cranes and this gorgeous macaroni penguin with his cheeky-looking crest.



6. When this chameleon tried to be lots of other animals at once.


Eric Carle Chameleon


The eponymous hero of The Mixed-Up Chameleon – a chameleon who goes a little overboard with his powers of camouflage when he sees a zoo and wants to be like all the other animals – helps us to understand why it’s important to be ourselves.


7. When the light of the moon shone down on a caterpillar egg.


Eric Carle Moon


The night-time opening illustration of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, with its lovely brush-strokes and friendly-faced moon, is awash with midnight blues and deepest greens.  Calm and atmospheric, this mesmerising image sets the scene for one of the most iconic picture books ever.


Discover Eric Carle's stories:

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