I picked up this book, expecting to find essentially a picture book. However, this book is so much more...and it is lovely.
The book begins with an introduction by Leonard Marcus, the children's book reviewer for Parenting Magazine and a well-known book critic and historian.
Following this is an autobiography with many personal photos. I found the story of Carle's early years interesting: how he was born in the United States but then his parents returned to Germany when he was six. His father was drafted into the German army during World War II and Carle never saw him again for 8 years, when he emerged from a Russian POW camp weighing 80 pounds. Carle was a lackluster student, mainly because his creativity was stifled, but he did have some empathetic art teachers in Germany. In his early 20s he returned to the U.S. where he was promptly drafted into the army!
The next section of this book was by Ann Beneduce, the first editor to publish Carle's work. She first commissioned him to illustrate a cookbook. After that, she decided to publish his first book "1,2,3 to the Zoo" but could find no one in the United States who could satisfactorily produce it, so she had it done in Japan.
Next, Viktor Christen, a German editor, wrote about Carle's vision and what it means to children.
Takeshi Matsumoto, the director of an art museum for picture books in Japan, wrote an essay about Carle's use of color.
The text of a speech, entitled "Where Do Ideas Come From?", given by Carle at the Library of Congress was the next section of this book. He gave this speech to librarians and educators in 1990 at the International Children's Book Day Celebration.
Next was a photo essay on his technique of paper coloring and collaging, which also explained why he colors white tissue paper rather than buying pre-colored papers (they fade with age).
Lastly was a section of illustrations from his books, in chronological order. I found it interesting to see how his art had changed and become much more detailed in 30 years.