Eric Carle, the author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, died this week and there has been an outpouring of love and admiration for the beloved children’s author online. If you’re one of the millions of people who grew up loving Carle’s books, you’ll definitely want to check out this video of Carle appearing in an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in 1998, which shows the two legendary figures spending some time together when Rogers visits Carle’s studio.
The clip begins with Rogers walking into Carle’s studio, where the author is painting tissue paper. Carle walks Rogers through the process, showing how he uses pieces of old carpet to create specific prints on the paper. Rogers then asks Carle to show him and the audience how he makes an illustration and the author happily obliges, creating a beautiful work of art with nothing but tissue paper and some yellow and green paint.
As Carle is painting, Rogers asks him if he always enjoyed making art. Carle says that he has and tells the story of how his teacher his talent from a young age and encouraged his parents to support his artistic abilities.
“My first-grade teacher recognized that I was pretty good at it,” Carle said of his artistic ability. “And she asked my mother to come to school and told her that I was talented and I drew well and that she and my father should nurture that. And they did.”
“I bet she put some of your pictures up on the wall, too,” Rogers said.
“[She] did,” Carle said. “My mother walked into school and there were all my pictures up on the hallway and she didn’t even know it was her Eric.”
It’s not an overly emotional video but you may find yourself tearing up a bit simply by watching two men who impacted countless childhoods interact with one another. And Carle made it clear that he admired Rogers greatly, as he later wrote about his experience on the show and praised Rogers.
I’ve been aware of him for a long time and I am impressed with the depth of his work,” Carle wrote on his website. “I think he and I try to do the same thing, which is to take a subject we consider important and explore it with our audiences and readers. We don’t tell children, we let them discover for themselves. “