Eric Carle to write first book in four years for Puffin

Puffin is to publish a new picture book by The Very Hungry Caterpillar author Eric Carle, his first in four years.

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse will be published in October 2011, in a global, simultaneous publication with Philomel, a Penguin Young Readers Group imprint in the US. Kate Hayler bought UK rights through Motoko Inoue.

The book is inspired by Expressionist painter Franz Marc, who used blue horses in his paintings, with Carle's work telling the story of an artist who paints the world as he sees it, imagining a red crocodile, an orange elephant, a purple fox and a black polar bear.

Puffin managing director Francesca Dow said: "A new picture book from Eric Carle is an event for his millions of fans, whatever their age, and The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse is incredible in its beauty and simplicity. We look forward to working with our colleagues at Penguin US and Penguin globally to make this publication into an international celebration."

Carle said: "When I was in high school, in World War II Germany, I was secretly shown works by the banned Expressionist painters by my teacher Herr Krauss. This was an experience that changed my life and had a deep impact on me."

More than 100 million copies of Carle's books have been sold worldwide, according to the publisher, with The Very Hungry Caterpillar first published in 1969.