Happy Birthday Eric Carle!

Last Saturday, June 25, Eric Carle celebrated his 82nd birthday!  I would guess he is one of the most well known children’s authors!  Years ago McDonalds restaurants included toys based on Eric Carle’s books in their Happy Meals!  Of course I had to have them all!

This one is based on The Very Hungry Caterpillar – eating through an apple.  They are all actually small finger puppets.  You can make the worm wiggle and move a little by putting your finger inside.

This is the Grouchy Ladybug.  You push a button that makes the wings open and close.


This is The Lonely Firefly – the tail lights up – it is a little tricky to push the light because your finger fits in toward the front, and the light is toward the back – the kids love it anyway!

This is The Very Quiet Cricket – it makes a clicking sound by pushing on a button inside.

This is A House for Hermit Crab!


Here is The Very Busy Spider.

I know if I were reading this I would be so jealous – and really really want to have my own set!  I haven’t ever searched for more – you might try Ebay – or contacting McDonalds!  Toys like this are fun and motivating for the children, and help encourage the children to fall in love with Eric Carle’s books – of course so many children are already devoted fans!  Making projects and props to retell stories are another great way to help the children remember and retell these wonderful stories.

Several years ago my husband and I vacationed in Massachusetts and had a chance to visit the Eric Carle Picture Book Museum.  I highly recommend it if you ever have a chance!

They conduct many wonderful classes and special celebrations at the museum too!  Check out their website – http://www.carlemuseum.org!  If you visit you will see lots of art work from picture book artists all over the world.  There is a craft room where you can create, and a library where you can browse lots and lots of books.

When we visited, this VW decorated with images from the Hungry Caterpillar was sitting outside the museum!
They were getting ready to celebrate Eric Carle’s 80th birthday and the 40th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

The walls were decorated with these banners and signs.

One of my favorite things was the bathroom:

The tiles contained pictures from Brown Bear, Brown Bear!  I’m not sure of the significance of the ‘ruffly’ toilet seat – but I loved it!  I guess I am a little strange for sharing bathroom photos.  There is a virtual tour on the website, but it doesn’t include the bathroom!

Some of the exhibitions rotate or are only there for a limited time.   They had a great display of Leo Lionni books, and they were renovating their Tomie de Paola section – which means I definitely have to go back because he is one of my favorite authors!  They have a great gift shop – and you can order lots of fun stuff online!  Owen has a Very Hungry Caterpillar bedroom at my house – with caterpillar curtains, posters, bedspread and sheets, and of course tons of books!  They sell fabric by the yard that coordinates with his books!  I was ecstatic!

So in honor of Eric Carle’s birthday – here is a little story/science experiment that I loved to do with my Kindergartners, and often used it when we read Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear.  You could really do it anytime – but the character in the story is a polar bear.

Basically you tell a story and encourage the children to chime in on a chant that is repeated several times.  You need one of those plastic bears that come with honey inside – empty and washed out well.  You begin the story with clear water in the bear bottle, and a piece of white paper behind it so it looks white to the children.  You add drops of different colors of food color as you tell the story and the Polar Bear changes color.  Then at the end of the story he changes back to white – and you add drops of household bleach until the water turns clear again.  To the children it seems like magic!

I know there can be concerns about using bleach in the classroom, and you do have to be very careful, I brought a small amount in a well closed container, and was sure to keep it out of the children’s reach.  I talked to them after the story about the fact that bleach is a chemical and parents might use it doing laundry – but it is NOT safe for children.  I never had any problem using it, and the children loved the whole activity.

Here is a copy of the story and directions!  Even if you don’t choose to do this activity, find some way to include some of Eric Carle’s wonderful books in your classroom.

Polar Bear story

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ccassidy
    Jun 29, 2011 @ 09:59:52

    I went to Ebay and got them (yay!). Thanks for sharing once again, you’re awesome.


  2. dbsenk
    Jun 29, 2011 @ 18:55:34

    Hooray! That made me laugh because it’s exactly what I would have done!!


  3. Linda Warner
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 13:59:05

    I have the original Scholastic poster announcing the COMING of The Very Hungry Caterpillar — found it when organizing some files many years ago. Bought a poster frame for it, and it is a treasured possession!
    Linda, a K teacher of 35 years. 🙂


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