December 2, 2014

Dec 2

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Eric Carle


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SOLD: $16,000

A superb first edition of Eric Carle’s classic children’s picture book, annotated throughout and signed by him at end. Carle makes notes from the front dust jacket panel (“If I had to change anything I would make my name bigger!”) to the final page of text (“The printing could be a lot better”) and lays in a drawing of a rabbit on translucent paper with directions to the printer. Dedicated to his sister, Christa, Carle writes on the dedication leaf that “My sister is 21 years younger than I!” and on the first leaf of text “I have often tried to recreate the soul full look of the moon — never succeeded!” On the penultimate spread, he writes “Some children and teachers point out that cocoon should be chrysalis… and that I am wrong…” Carle’s classic work is revered as one of the greatest of the genre, known for its unique use of collage and die-cutting that combines beautiful book design with a scientifically-oriented tale of life and growth. The Very Hungry Caterpillar has sold over 30 million copies worldwide, the equivalent of one copy per minute since its publication. The delicate nature of this first edition binding combined with the book’s amazing popularity with children has resulted in very few first editions surviving at all; let alone undamaged and jacketed as this one is.  Of the children’s book specialists consulted for this project none had seen a first edition of A Very Hungry Caterpillar in 20 years.

CARLE, Eric (b.1929). The Very Hungry Caterpillar. New York and Cleveland: The World Publishing Company, [1969]. Oblong 4o. Original pictorial boards; pictorial dust jacket. Provenance: David Plourde (ownership signature on title).



© Paul Shoul

An acclaimed and beloved illustrator and writer, Eric Carle has published more than 70 brilliantly illustrated and innovatively designed picture books for young children. His most famous work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has sold over 38 million copies and been translated into more than 58 languages.