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My Very First Library Board book – September 7, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 124 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Eric Carle and Tomie dePaola: Author One-on-One

Eric Carle is the creator, author, and illustrator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and many other children’s books. Tomie dePaola is the author and illustrator of Strega Nona: Her Story and countless other books. They recently had a conversation about their careers as picture book authors. Eric Carle

Tomie dePaola: When I was only four years old, I announced to my family in particular and to the world in general that I was going to become an artist, and write stories and draw pictures for books. I never swayed from that early declaration. I’ve always been curious to know, what inspired you to become a creator and illustrator of picture books?

Eric Carle: My career began as a graphic designer and for a number of years I worked as an art director for an advertising agency in New York. In the mid 1960's Bill Martin, Jr. saw an ad of a red lobster that I had designed and asked me to illustrate his Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Well, I was set on fire! I was so inspired by this book, and the opportunity to illustrate it changed my life. After that, I started to create my own books, both words and pictures, and really it was then that I had found my true course in life.

Now, I have a question for you, Tomie. How would you describe your artistic style, and has it changed over time?

Tomie dePaola: My illustration style is heavily influenced by folk art--strong simple shapes, bold lines, color, color, color and a deceptive simplicity. My style began to develop early in art school, and through the years, it hasn’t changed very much, but it has refined itself. How would you describe yours?

Eric Carle: My aim with my work is to simplify and refine, be logical and harmonious. I like to use simple shapes, bright colors and a lot of white space. I write for the child inside of me. That is always where I begin.

Tomie dePaola Tomie dePaola: I do, as well. The only audience I keep in mind is that four-year-old in me. People sometimes ask me what advice I would give to young artists. I always think of the wonderful advice I received from my twin cousins when they were in art school in the late '30s. They told me, “Practice, practice, practice and don’t copy.”

Eric Carle: I often tell people about the four magic letters: DO IT. I want to be encouraging but I can only offer the example of my own experience, which is just one approach. There are many wonderful artists to learn about, which is important. But you must use your own imagination. You have to just do it.

Tomie dePaola: How do you feel knowing that a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar is sold every 30 seconds, somewhere in the world?

Eric Carle: It is hard for me, maybe for others too, to grasp this concept. But I am truly honored that my story is enjoyed by so many and that it is now being shared by a generation of parents who grew up with my book. How about your Strega Nona. She is one of your most popular characters. Can you share how she came to be?

Tomie dePaola: In the ‘70s when I was teaching at a college, we were required to attend faculty meetings. I always sat in the back with a yellow legal pad. Everyone thought I was taking notes. At one meeting a doodle appeared of a little lady with a big nose and a big chin. I named her Strega Nona, and the rest is history. Speaking of history, how will you be celebrating the third annual Very Hungry Caterpillar Day this year?

Eric Carle: On The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day, March 20th, I will probably be at home with my wife, Bobbie (I am a bit of a hermit, actually). But I will be saying a little toast to the caterpillar for whom I have a special place in my heart. And speaking of holidays, isn’t your favorite holiday Christmas. Do you have a special Christmas memory?

Tomie dePaola: Christmas is my favorite holiday. My favorite Christmas was the one when I received tons and tons of art supplies: everything from an easel to paints, pads and pads of paper, and “how to draw” books.

About the Author

Eric Carle lives in Northampton, Massachusetts. Visit the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts.
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Product Details

  • Board book: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel Books; Slp Brdbk edition (September 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399246665
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399246661
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 2.3 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By H. Terhune on July 21, 2008
Format: Board book
I love the "My Very First Library" by Eric Carle concept but my daughter is only 11 months old and it's a little above her "reading" level just yet. The pages are divided in half making it hard for her to turn the pages so she just goes on to the next book. The books are about colors, shapes, etc. and you have to match the top of the page with the bottom of another page and I believe it requires a higher level of motor skills. Therefore, if you looking for Eric Carle books and have an infant or young toddler, I would go with the "Brown Bear & Friends" board book set, it's perfect for this age.
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Format: Board book
This collection of Eric Carle is one of my favorites. I gave it to a friend for her sons first birthday. It will hold up since the book material is sturdy & great for small fingers to hold on to. The illustrations are beautiful with colors that young children enjoy!
You will be pleased with this collection. Start reading with your child when they are young~ it is a gift for a lifetime!
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Format: Board book
My daughter loved matching the pictures to the words/shapes/colors. She is five and eager to read. She said "I am reading!" while reading these books.
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This is a great collection of books. It literally has a number of ways to use them and will grow with your child.
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These 4 books are cute and a fun idea. But it is actually very difficult for even an adult to match the pages up. Sometimes the matching card/page will be all the way at the back and its physically difficult to get the books pages to flip that way. Cute idea but in real life it's not that great. Wish I had just bought some regular Eric Carle books.
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When they are very little they want to handle it, gum it, chew on it, etc. Eric Carle is brilliant and putting his work onto such approachable material was the RIGHT thing to do. Instead of a 'baby shower', have a 'book shower' and lead off your present list with board books by Eric Carle.
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Great deal! These books are wonderful for a range of ages - babies and young toddlers can learn shapes, colors, and numbers, while older toddlers and children can learn letters and sight words. The top pages have a word in capital or lower case letters, while the bottom pages have the same word in the opposite case, along with a corresponding picture, but in a different order from the top pages. So it is great to show a child the picture and the word next to it (ie, cat), and then let him/her search for CAT on the upper pages.
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Not really what I expected. The book is split top and bottom and is a little hard to flip the pages. Maybe after more use it will break in. Gave it as a gift. But Eric Carle pictures are always beautiful.
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