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FACT CHECK: Did Eric Carle Say He Fought With His Publisher Over A Scene In ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’?

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An image shared on Facebook claims author Eric Carle said he fought with his publisher over a scene in “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” where the caterpillar gets a stomachache.


Verdict: False

The image does not depict a genuine interview from Carle. It was originally published as an April Fools’ joke in the Paris Review.

Fact Check:

Carle, the author and illustrator of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” died at the age of 91 May 23, according to The Washington Post. Since then, social media users have been sharing an alleged passage from an interview Carle gave about the stomachache scene in “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

“After this banquet I intended him to proceed immediately to his metamorphosis, but my publisher insisted that he suffer an episode of nausea first – that some punishment follow his supposed overeating,” Carle allegedly said. “This disgusted me. It ran entirely contrary to the message of the book. The Caterpillar is, after all, very hungry, as sometimes we all are.”

There is no record, however, of Carle saying such a thing. The passage comes from a 2015 article published by the Paris Review as a part of an April Fools’ joke. A disclaimer at the top of the article reads: “It is a fictional interview, and intended purely as a parody. It is not intended to communicate any true or factual information, and is for entertainment purposes only.”

The Paris Review also recently noted in a May 28 tweet that the interview was intended as parody after many social media users shared the interview “as fact.” (RELATED: Did C.S. Lewis Say, ‘You Are Never Too Old To Set Another Goal Or To Dream A New Dream’?)

It has come to our attention that a parody Eric Carle interview published in 2015 as part of an April Fool’s post entitled “Introducing The Paris Review for Young Readers” has been quoted as fact. The post was not intended to communicate any true information. (1/2)

— The Paris Review (@parisreview) May 28, 2021


“It has come to our attention that a parody Eric Carle interview published in 2015 as part of an April Fool’s post entitled ‘Introducing The Paris Review for Young Readers’ has been quoted as fact,” the tweet reads. “The post was not intended to communicate any true information.”

A quote from the parody interview was also included in a Smithsonian Magazine article about Carle’s life, though an editor’s note was later added to acknowledge the quote was not real and it was removed from the article.