Most moms can spot the cover of The Very Hungry Caterpillar from a mile away. Like many of Eric Carle’s time-tested children’s books, it features a vibrantly constructed animal (in this case, a wide-eyed caterpillar) composed through Carle’s signature method of cutting and arranging hand-painted papers.
As an illustrator and an author, Carle figured out what he was good at and stuck with it. His collaged artwork is distinctive and the cadence of his writing is truly his own. While his stories—which tend to be pacifyingly cyclical more so than stirringly climactic—might not seem the perfect fit for a theatrical adaptation, producers have found a way to get the characters on stage.
A Brown Bear, A Moon, and A Caterpillar: Treasured Stories by Eric Carle has already taken the country by storm. Parents and children alike rave about the performance, which enlivens Carle’s characters through music, visual effects, and puppetry. And while Treasured Stories successfully represents the Carle ecosystem at large, the plot is derived most directly from three specific titles: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Recently, the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia has started to wrap up the tour—for now at least—with a 25-day run at the Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago. For those of us not lucky enough to be in the windy city this month, not to worry—we have an inkling that the characters might soon be “very hungry” for more.