Eric Carle, illustrator, decides to draw a caterpillar, not a worm

Eric Carle, children’s book illustrator, had an idea for a story about a little green worm named Willi. It would be called “A Week with Willi Worm,” and would follow Willi as he eats his way through books and other items. Carle’s editor Ann Beneduce thought a worm might not delight audiences and suggested a caterpillar as the protagonist.

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” resulted. Published in 1969, it sold 30 million copies, and made Carle one of the best-known children’s book authors of all time. Carle’s work will be on display at the High Museum beginning Saturday, April 2. To learn more about his history and about the exhibit, go to

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