Eric Carle sells business

Staff Writer
Thursday, November 14, 2019

Eric Carle, author and illustrator of the seminal children’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and dozens of other titles, has sold his company and intellectual property rights to his longtime publisher, Penguin Young Readers.

The deal, whose terms were not released, is expected to be finalized by Jan. 1, 2020, according to Madeline McIntosh, the CEO of Penguin Random House U.S. Penguin Young Readers is a division of that parent company.

Carle, who is 90, is considered one of the most beloved children’s writers and illustrators of today, with some 145 million book sales worldwide. His deal with Penguin Young Readers includes the global publishing rights to his 70-plus children’s books as well as to the substantial Eric Carle licensing business.

In a statement, Carle, formerly of Northampton and now living in Florida, said he and his son, Rolf, decided Penguin, which published “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” in 1969, was “the most logical and appropriate” future caretaker for his work. “I know they will continue the work of the Eric Carle studio with creativity, integrity and care.”

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, also started by Carle, will remain its own entity and “continue Eric and Barbara Carle’s legacy of bringing picture book art to children,” according to a press release from Penguin Young Readers.

Jen Loja, president of Penguin Young Readers, said Carle’s books have long been a central part of the company’s work. “Generations of readers, myself included, grew up with Eric’s innovatively designed books … his signature collage artwork and introductions to early concepts are as resonant today as they were 50 years ago.”

Under this new arrangement, Eric Carle’s business operations will move out of the Eric Carle Studio, started in Northampton in 1984, and currently run by CEO Jack Fortier and creative director Motoko Inoue.

After the transition period, according to Penguin, Inoue will retire and Fortier will assume the role of president of the Eric and Barbara Carle Foundation, started by Carle and his late wife, Barbara, to make donations to charitable activities.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.