Washington (AFP)

Author and illustrator Eric Carle, who has rocked generations of children with his colorful book "The caterpillar that makes holes", died at 91, his entourage announced on Wednesday.

"It is with a very heavy heart that we announce that Eric Carle, author and designer of + The caterpillar which makes holes + and many other great classics, passed away on Sunday 23 May, at the age of 91 years", announced his team on social media.

Born in New York State in 1929 to German parents, Eric Carle grew up in Nazi Germany, a world he called "colorless", on American radio NPR.

He crossed the Atlantic again in the early 1950s and entered the world of advertising.

He wrote his first children's books in the mid-1960s including the very famous "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?".

In 1969, "The caterpillar which makes holes", soon to be a cult book with holes in the pages, was released on a small caterpillar whose appetite continues to grow.

In the space of a week, the insect bites an apple, two pears, three plums, four strawberries, five oranges, chocolate, cheese ... until it becomes a magnificent multicolored butterfly.

Many people expressed their grief on Wednesday evening, paying tribute to the author, who marked millions of children.

"Eric Carle is dead - but he left us + The Caterpillar That Makes Holes +, + Brown Bear, Brown Bear + - books that I read to my children and now my grandchildren," the actress tweeted. Mia Farrow.

Asked why this book had remained so popular, Eric Carle confided according to his team: "I think it's a book of hope. Children need hope. You, insignificant little caterpillar, you can become a beautiful butterfly and fly around the world with your talent. "

In total, Eric Carle will write more than 70 books, sold in millions of copies.

Many of them have been translated into French.

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