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Five questions for Eric Carle

EricCarleIn The Nonsense Show, iconic picture-book creator Eric Carle reveals depths of previously unknown daffiness. A human baby sits in a kangaroo’s pouch, a lion is a people-tamer, a mouse catches a cat. Adults will appreciate the matter-of-fact surrealism; kids will simply find the whole thing a riotous hoot.

1. There’s a true three-year-old’s sense of humor at work here. Does that come naturally to you?

EC: Thank you. I don’t know if it’s a three-year-old, but I do try and entertain the child inside — the child I once was — when I am making my books. That is where I always begin.

2. What does collage uniquely allow an artist to do?

EC: I make my pictures out of hand-painted tissue papers that I paint with acrylics. Then I cut and tear these painted papers and glue them onto illustration board. My painted papers are like my palette. There are many different mediums to work in; I just happen to like collage. I enjoy the process of gluing the pieces down in a picture. I am very interested in details, brushstrokes in a painting, and textures. So the process of painting my tissue papers is very satisfying to me. Many children have also done collages at home or in their classrooms. In fact, some children have said to me, “Oh, I can do that.” I consider that the highest compliment.

3. I’ll be seeing you at the tenth anniversary Carle Honors later this month. Can we expect any nonsense there?

EC: The Carle Honors event is organized by the talented staff at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art — so maybe they have something up their sleeves.

Carle-225x300_NonsenseShow4. What is the best thing about having your own museum?

EC: It is true that my wife Bobbie and I co-founded the museum, and it is a wonderful feeling every time we walk inside the building. We are very moved, each time, by the beauty of the space itself and the light and all that is happening there — how it has grown over the past thirteen years. But the museum is not just a home for the caterpillar. What has been a wonderful development is that it has become a home for many children’s book authors and illustrators who have shared their work and become very involved in making the museum the success that it is. This is really the best thing about it, so far.

5. Your bio on the book jacket says you invented the internet. WHY DID YOU DO IT?

EC: Well, after flying to Mars and back in one day I felt I needed another good challenge! But it is also in my bio that I tell stories…not all of which are true.

[Editor’s note: we were sad to learn today that Bobbie Carle died on September 7th, and we extend to Eric Carle and the community of the Carle Museum our deepest sympathies.]

From the September 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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  1. Nadean Green says:

    My son is doing a project on Eric carle and I need more information about him

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