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100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Dear Eric Carle, Will You Be My Tattoo Artist?

Caterpillar Dear Eric Carle, Will You Be My Tattoo Artist?

For a joke, I decided to put a Very Hungry Caterpillar tattoo on my arm and tell my students it was real (just for a minute, then I came clean).

Me (in front of a class of students): I probably shouldn’t be telling you this. But, uh, I got a tattoo.

Class: Whoa!! (I didn’t expect the big reaction that met this announcement.)

Me: I don’t recommend you get a tattoo, but I got one. I think it makes me look pretty tough. (Dramatic pause) Want to see it?

Class: Yes!!

Me (rolling up sleeve): Here it is.

Class: (laughter/confusion as students weren’t sure if it was real, turning to all laughter when I told them is was temporary)

It was fun, but the tattoo ended up lasting way longer than I expected – three weeks or so. And it’s been a warm fall here in Michigan, so I’ve been wearing short-sleeved shirts. The tattoo has been kinda hard to miss.

So here’s the problem/great thing about it – most people thought it was real.

“Did you get a Hungry Caterpillar tat?”

“Wow. You got a tattoo” (This person was not a fan)

“Is that a Very Hungry Caterpillar tattoo on your arm?”

(After explaining it was temporary) “If that was real, we were about to have a moment.” I felt kinda bad robbing this person of that moment.

The longer it stayed on, the more I liked it. So, I’ve decided something. If I ever do get a tattoo, it’s going to be The Very Hungry Caterpillar on my forearm. Maybe I could convince Eric Carle to do the ink himself.

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About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.

Comments

  1. Sara Ralph says:

    As a librarian, this makes me wonder if copyright and trademarks apply to tattoos?

    • Travis Jonker says:

      That’s a good question, Sara. As far as the temporary tattoo goes, that was given out as a promotional item, so I feel like it was made to be displayed and everything’s on the up and up. If I were to actually get a Hungry Caterpillar tattoo, that’s a different story I suppose. I hear the Eric Carle Museum takes donations :)

  2. AJB says:

    I never even thought about tattoo copyrights. But it would seem not since the tattoo isn’t being used for profit or personal gain (other than personal enjoyment). At least I never heard of any legal action brought against someone because of a tattoo. If it were the case, I’d imagine all the folks walking around sporting character-based tattoos (say, Superman or Batman or, yes, even the Very Hungry Caterpiller) would be in a world of trouble.

    I’m no expert, of course, but I’d say tattoos aren’t subject to copyright laws. If anything, they’re like free advertisements.

  3. Niki Barnes says:

    Let me know if you ever decide to go for it Travis….then I will promise to get a Babymouse tattoo also. ;)

  4. Pragmaticmom says:

    That is a cute! Now, you might have to get a real one!

  5. MIchelle T. says:

    You can remove temporary tattoos by using hand sanitizer! Or let it wear off.

  6. Robin says:

    I totally have Very Hungry Caterpillar temporary tattoo envy. I can’t find one anywhere on the Internet for sale, so if I’m thinking of some other kind to punk my students with!

  7. I have a literary tattoo of Winnie-the-Pooh! I think Hungry Caterpillar or Babymouse would make a great second tattoo for me. I love how you surprised your students.

  8. Tattoo Girl says:

    That’s not too bad. I’ve seen a lot worse! And anything that makes people laugh is alright with me. :)

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