July 28, 2021
Inspired by Eric Carle
- as seen by -Leela Samaroo
My exposure to wildlife growing up was minimal. I have vivid memories from kindergarten of listening to my teacher reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and being captivated by the colorful animals on each page. I never thought that blue horses existed, but the story made me want to see what other amazing animals there were in this world.
My parents bought me more of Carle’s books, and I kept reading, enjoying the bright colors and interesting creatures. My fascination with Carle’s works inspired me to visit the Bronx Zoo and find some of these colorful animals. I couldn’t believe there might be a bird that actually looked like the vivid peafowl in the Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, yet I found one there. Looking back, these books gave me an appreciation for the natural world that led me down the path to eventually becoming a zookeeper.
Eric Carle was such an important part of my childhood. To this day, I watch random insects climbing up walls, or find myself intrigued by the shapes of leaves, wondering about their form. I thank him for creating these lovely books that sparked my curiosity.
It may be a bit silly, but I don’t think I am too old to enjoy the festivities around the zoo. Whether it is taking lunch break to watch the Eric Carle puppet shows or taking fun photos with the animal cut-outs (above, with butterfly from The Very Hungry Caterpillar), this event reminds me of my childhood. I hope that Eric Carle’s books can continue to inspire others to discover the world around them.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Eric Carle’s World of Wildlife at the Bronx Zoo will bring his famous books to life with live performances, music, dancing, games, and other activities through August 29, 2021.