Eric Carle, Author Of 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar,' Dies At 91

"In the light of the moon, holding on to a good star, a painter of rainbows is now traveling across the night sky," his family wrote in a statement.

Eric Carle, the legendary American designer, illustrator and author of children’s books, has died at age 91.

In a tribute on his website, his family announced that Carle died Sunday. It said: “In the light of the moon, holding on to a good star, a painter of rainbows is now traveling across the night sky.”

Eric Carle, an illustrator and author of children’s books, with a print of some of his illustrations. Carle died on May 23 at age 91.
Eric Carle, an illustrator and author of children’s books, with a print of some of his illustrations. Carle died on May 23 at age 91.
Matthew J. Lee for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Carle was behind beloved children’s classics such as “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” and “The Very Busy Spider.” He created more than 70 books for kids over the course of his career, captivating generations of young readers with his colorful and educational stories.

Carle's family announced his death with a tribute on his website.
Carle's family announced his death with a tribute on his website.
Family of Bobbi and Eric Carle

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” perhaps his best known story, was published in 1969 and remains a fixture of children’s bookshelves to this day. The vivid book about a caterpillar’s metamorphosis has sold more than 50 million copies in at least 62 languages.

In 2002, Carle and his late wife Barbara founded the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a nonprofit in Amherst, Massachusetts, that seeks to “inspire a love of art and reading through picture books.” The museum collects, displays and celebrates picture books from around the world.

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