Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal Winner, 2003
Eric Carle, best known for his picture books for young children, is the 2003 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award winner. His numerous picture books include “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” “Do You Want to Be My Friend?” “The Tiny Seed,” “From Head to Toe,” and “‘Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,’ said the Sloth.”
“Eric Carle’s visual observations of the natural world encourage the imagination and often mirror the larger changes in a young child’s development and experience,” said Wilder Award Committee Chair Ginny Moore Kruse, former director of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin - Madison. “His keen knowledge and genuine appreciation of nature undergird his vivid, often humorous, artwork, providing a deeply satisfying complexity.”
Born in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1929, Carle moved with his parents to Germany in 1935. He came back to the United States in 1952, first working as a graphic designer for the New York Times. Later, his work was noticed by Bill Martin, Jr., who invited Carle to illustrate his text for the still popular picture book, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” (Holt, 1967).
“Taking the medium of collage to a new level, Carle creates books using luminous colors and playful designs often incorporating an interactive dimension, tactile or auditory discoveries, die-cut pages, foldouts, and other innovative uses of page space,” said Kruse.
According to Kruse, “Carle’s picture books are a national treasure greatly loved by preschoolers the world around and vividly remembered years later when, as adults, they share his books with new generations of young children.”
Members of the Wilder committee are: Chair Ginny Moore, Kruse, Madison, Wis., Joan Atkinson, School of Library and Information Studies, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Margaret Bush, the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College, Boston; Barbara Elleman, book critic, Northbrook, Ill.; and Susan Patron, Los Angeles Public Library.