How precious are Your thoughts to me, O LORD ... how vast is the sum of them!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

This post is written in memory of Eric Carle, children’s book author and illustrator extraordinaire, June 25, 1929 – May 23, 2021.

The other day, I opened up a few of my favorite childhood picture books. 

Draw Me a Star by Eric Carle

Simple Pictures Are Best by Nancy Willard and Tomie dePaola 



Round Trip by Ann Jonas



A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert and Anita Lobel

On Market Street by Anita Lobel and Arnold Lobel

I’ve always enjoyed my family’s collection of picture books. My mom didn’t thin them out as we kids grew up. Instead, she kept them (ostensibly) for the grandchildren … though in reality, neither she nor I could bear to part with them.

Now that I work at a preschool, children’s picture books are a regular part of my life again. It’s one of my favorite aspects of the job. Although reading a particular picture book for the first time as an adult isn’t usually as wonderful as it is in childhood, I can enjoy it vicariously when I see the toddlers’ thrill. I’m on the hunt for my own copies of …

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood


You Are Special by Max Lucado

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

But books I knew in my childhood are different. I was sad to hear that Eric Carle had recently died. He was one of my favorite illustrators, and we have a sizable stack of his books. (Do you know how he did his art? He painted tissue paper and cut it into shapes to form pictures! Look it up on YouTube sometime.) And Tomie dePaola! He was another icon of my childhood, gone for over a year now. Reading their books and others I loved as a kid transports me back in time, back to when I was savoring them and being absorbed in the world their pictures and simple words created. Nothing else can take me back like that, not even childhood movies or toys.

Draw Me a Star is particularly significant to me now because of how it beautifully links the work of an artist with God’s creation, ending with the artist as an old man who lived out his days and flew into the night sky with a star. Rest in peace, Eric Carle.

One of these days, I plan to do a post (or a series) on the memorable books of my growing-up years, but to finish this one out in honor of Eric Carle, here is a list of just his that I own:

Draw Me a Star

Today is Monday

Dragons Dragons & Other Creatures That Never Were

Animals Animals

Treasury of Classic Stories for Children

Pancakes, Pancakes!

A House for Hermit Crab

Rooster’s Off to See the World

The Tiny Seed

The Mountain That Loved a Bird

The Mixed-Up Chameleon

The Lamb and the Butterfly

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Have You Seen My Cat?

The Grouchy Ladybug

A Color of His Own

The Foolish Tortoise

Did you enjoy any of these books I mentioned when you were growing up?