Eric Carle’s “timeless tales and unique artwork will delight and inspire for years to come”

Rocket Licensing has joined the many to express condolences over the death of Eric Carle, the author and illustrator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, who died on May 23rd aged 91.

A statement issued by the family of the US author read: “In the light of the moon, holding on to a good star, a painter is now travelling across the night sky.”

Carle’s most famous book tells the story of a caterpillar with a giant appetite that, having been first published in 1969, has gone on to sell more than 50 million copies around the world and been translated in 62 languages. 

Not only that, but the title has built an enduring reputation among global audiences that spans generations, upheld by a robust licensing programme that spans categories and continents. The brand’s European activity is overseen by the UK’s own Rocket Licensing.

Carle’s son Rolfe told the New York Times that his father had died in Northampton, Massachusetts, from kidney failure. 

Rocket Licensing issued its own statement via social media this morning, saying:

“It is with great sadness that we hear that Eric Carle, author and illustrator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, passed away on 23rd May at the age of 91. Eric’s timeless tales and unique artwork will continue to delight and inspire for years to come. #RememberingEricCarle”

Speaking with the BBC in 2019, Carle believed that the enduring popularity of his The Very Hungry Caterpillar came down to its ‘fundamental message of hope.’

“For many years, my publisher and editor and I did not know the reason for The Very Hungry Caterpillar being so popular,” he said. “But over time, I’ve come to feel that it is a book of hope. And it is a hopeful feeling that has made it a book readers of all ages enjoy and remember.”

It is estimated that one copy of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar is sold every 15 seconds.