Eric Carle was a beloved children’s author and illustrator, best known for his iconic picture book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” He was born in Syracuse, New York in 1929 and spent much of his childhood in Germany before returning to the United States to study art. Carle’s unique collage-style illustrations, often featuring brightly colored animals and insects, have captivated generations of young readers and helped make him one of the most celebrated children’s authors of all time.
“The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” published in 1969, has sold over 50 million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than 60 languages. The book’s simple, engaging story and distinctive illustrations have made it a perennial favorite among children and adults alike. Carle went on to create many more beloved picture books, including “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” and “The Grouchy Ladybug,” each featuring his signature style of illustration.
As a member of the StoryToys team, a children’s app company based in Dublin, I had the incredible opportunity to write and design new digital content based on the beloved work of Eric Carle. It was a privilege to work on this project and bring Carle’s iconic characters to life in the digital realm. However, it was also a challenge to translate Carle’s classic picture books into an interactive and engaging format that would be accessible to a wider audience through our app, “Hungry Caterpillar Play School.”
The process of creating an app based on such a beloved children’s book required collaboration between multiple teams within StoryToys, including writers, illustrators, programmers, and designers. We worked closely with the Eric Carle team to ensure that the app stayed true to Carle’s original vision while also taking advantage of the unique opportunities provided by digital technology.
In addition to working closely with the Eric Carle team, we also drew inspiration from the Head Start Early Learning Framework, which emphasizes play-based learning and developmentally appropriate practices for young children. This framework informed many of the interactive games and activities featured in “Hungry Caterpillar Play School,” helping us create an app that is both engaging and educational for young children.
Furthermore, we were also guided by Eric Carle’s preference for non-didactic learning. Carle believed that children should be allowed to explore and discover on their own, rather than being taught in a more traditional, didactic manner. We kept this philosophy in mind while developing the app’s activities, making sure that they were designed to encourage children’s curiosity and creativity.
It’s worth mentioning that the process of translating Eric Carle’s iconic 2D caterpillar into a 3D character had already been achieved by the StoryToys team before I began working on the project. The team had previously created “My Very Hungry Caterpillar,” which allowed children to care for and interact with their own digital caterpillar. This laid the groundwork for “Hungry Caterpillar Play School,” and my work built upon this legacy by incorporating new interactive games and activities to the app.
Having this 3D caterpillar as a starting point allowed me to focus on creating engaging and educational content that would be a natural extension of Carle’s original vision, rather than having to start from scratch
The app itself features a range of interactive games and activities designed to help young children learn and explore, all while interacting with the characters and illustrations from Carle’s books. It was important to us that the app would not only honor Carle’s legacy but also introduce his work to a new generation of young readers. Through “Hungry Caterpillar Play School,” we aimed to make Carle’s classic picture books even more accessible and engaging for young readers.
Overall, it was an incredible experience to work on this project and help bring Carle’s iconic characters to life in the digital realm. It is a testament to the power of collaboration and digital technology to make classic children’s books even more accessible and engaging for young readers.