Friday, March 20, 2009
40 Years of Hungry Happiness!!!
With all of my research into children's literature and juvenile stories, I was absolutely delighted today when I turned my browser to Google's main page. In honor of the 40th anniversary of Eric Carle's children's classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Google transformed the usual appearance of its logo into a stylized reference of the story, complete with a caterpillar trailing its Os, which were transformed into an apple and an orange.
Truly, this shows the power children's books. Containing fewer pages than days in a month, this little board book has only enough room and time to offer a very brief story. But what it captures within those few pages has managed to fascinate children for many years. Now, some of these same children, once captivated by the journey of a single caterpillar, have been moved from this story of their childhood so much that they are paying homage to it with their multi-billion dollar entity on what must be the most frequently visited pages on the Internet.
Even the author has wondered at the book's success. But such timeless themes and metamorphosis, hope, youthful innocence, and even hunger are accessible to most of the book's readers; and the impact of the themes are reinforced by the book's visual and tactile appeal. This appeal transcends age and experience. I never read the book until I was an adult...and I am NOT 40...as I was browsing through the children's are of a bookstore after a cafe-style Bible study. It was so cute and warming, and I understood why there were so many Caterpillar paraphernalia within arm's reach of the attention-grabbing cover. I could connect with the story because I understand change and physical transformation.
The books we read to our kids, the stories we tell them, and the images we show them are all very powerful. It is with this in mind that I am going to write my own children's book. I love telling stories that excite me. I love it when the energy I feel is transferred to the reader. I am delighted when a student enjoys reading something I have written or designed. It's such a rewarding experience. I want to do it more often and add to the already long list of great children's books that help inspire kids along their own personal journeys.