Saturday, May 29, 2021

A Child Went Forth.... Eric Carle and The Very Hungry Caterpillar

"There was a child went forth every day,

And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became,

And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day,

Or for many years or stretching cycles of years."

Born in an earlier century, Walt Whitman was not writing about caterpillars or children's picture books, or the now late Eric Carle who died this week, but Eric Carle certainly believed in Whitman's description of how children absorb and acquire a view of their world, taken into and is shaping their world view early on. Ostensibly about a little caterpillar who ate everything he encountered and grew up to become a beautiful butterfly, Carle's best-seller, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a about how caterpillars become butterflies, but is also metaphor for the child who takes in everything, the "consumer" of this book and many others by Carle and others, that help him or her grow up with a healthy understanding of the beauty and bounty of our world. Our view of how the things work in this world is shaped by every experience we take in, and it is a lucky child who is privileged to make Eric Carle's very human and acute artistic sensibilities a part of his or her maturing mind. We become in part what we see and read, and for that part of it created by Carle, we thank him for his life's work.

Hail and Farewell, Eric Carle.

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