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5 Best Eric Carle Books That Aren’t ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’

There's much more to Carle's brilliance than that one butterfly, you know.

Eric Carle/Harper Collins

We love The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It’s a masterpiece and we love that the late-great Eric Carle’s dad inspired him to write and illustrate that specific book. But, pretending like that’s the only great book in the oeuvre of Eric Carle is bonkers. There are so many great, great books beyond the famous ones.

Other than The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Carle-illustrated Brown, Bear, Brown Bear, what are the best Eric Carle books that you’ve maybe overlooked? As the world mourns the passing of Carle and celebrates his life, here are five great Eric Carle books that have maybe slipped under the kids’ book radar. These picture books are all great for kids just learning to read, not to mention the big kids in your life, better known as parents.

Get ready for our favorite Eric Carle books, some of which you may have never heard of.

This book is essential Carle. A sweet picture book about the magic, and meaning of birthdays. Kids are obsessed with birthdays, but it's actually kind of hard to find great books about birthdays. This one delivers.

The dark Id to the Ego of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. A bossy ladybug tries to tell every other creature what to do throughout the story. It will remind you of your toddler or preschooler during tantrums. But, the way it all shakes out is great and the illustrations are sublime.

Kids love pancakes. Kids love to pretend to cook. This super-underrated Carle book dives into both of those things. A hilarious and beautiful book you maybe have never read.

Forget Brown Bear. It's all about the Polar Bear! Like the more famous Bear book, this was also a collaboration between Carle and writer Bill Martin Jr. Polar Bears are more cuddly, right? And you've read that Brown Bear book waaaay too many times.

This mixed up Chameleon is hella colorful. If your kid likes to think about lizards that can change their colors, and who doesn't, this book is for you. A fantastic and overlooked Carle classic.