‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ Author Eric Carle Writes Book About Surrealism

Children's book author and illustrator Eric Carle with his best-known book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Children's book author and illustrator Eric Carle with his best-known book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Courtesy of Justin Sutcliffe.

Children’s book author and illustrator Eric Carle, best known for the picture book classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969), is writing a book for kids exploring surrealism.

Titled The Nonsense Show, the book will be published in October by Penguin Young Readers Philomel. Featuring the artist’s signature tissue paper collage illustrations, the work will create visual puns in order to illustrate surrealism, the avant garde movement spearheaded by artists such as Salvador Dalí and Man Ray.

With his book, Carle hopes to create “something downright preposterous,” he said in a statement.

The Nonsense Show is the third in a series of books by the 85-year-old paying homage to art. The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse (2011) is a tribute to the so-called degenerate art of German expressionist painter Franz Marc. (Carle was born in Syracuse, New York, but grew up in Nazi Germany.)

His most recent book, Friends (2013), was partially inspired by Carle’s mentor, illustrator Leo Lionni, who helped the author get work as a graphic designer as a young man.

Carle’s more than 100 picture books also includes Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (1967) and 1,2,3 to the Zoo (1968).

The beloved children’s book illustrator is the founder of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts (see Weekly Shuffle: Pulitzer, MOCA, and Harvard Art Museums).


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