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The Very Hungry Caterpillar

A children's book by Eric Carle.

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Hungry Minds Love the Very Hungry Caterpillar

  • Dec 16, 2007
  • by
Pros: Beautiful illustrations; Appealing story; Teaches numbers, food, days of the week, and metamorphosis

Cons: None.

The Bottom Line: A book of lessons that children love... what more could I ask for?

Isn't everything in life a learning experience?

One thing I've had to learn about recently is what it's like to be seriously involved with someone who already has a child. It doesn't sound that difficult, but oh, it can be. Not only did I have to learn about the person I wanted to get involved with (my now boyfriend), but I had to learn all about his little one. As time has passed, I've learned a lot of lessons, hard, easy, fun and not-so-fun. Though I may have thought differently in the past, I wouldn't do anything to change the relationships I have with my boyfriend and his four-year-old son. The three of us are a little family, and I love it.

One thing my boyfriend's son and I enjoy doing together is reading. I've always been a fan of books of all sorts (scary, funny, fiction, non-fiction, adult, teen, and children) having been born to a librarian and book-lover. One book my mother read to me as a child was the ever-popular Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar. When we visit my parents house, this classic is one book my boyfriend's son always pulls of the shelf.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is simple but complex. Let's start simply :) In the beginning of the story we are introduced to an egg on a leaf. Very soon, the little egg becomes a new caterpillar, small and very, very hungry. As my boyfriend's son and I turn the pages, the caterpillar travels to fill his tummy. He eats one apple on Monday, two pears on Tuesday, and so on until Saturday, when his hungry little tummy speaks up. The caterpillar has a feast! He eats through pie, watermelon, pickles, and so many other things until finally he is full! Of course, once the caterpillar is full and ready, he spins his cocoon, and after a short wait, he emerges again, all beauty.

Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar is definitely an attention grabber for my boyfriend's son. Not only does he eat through the food in the book, but the story becomes slightly more exciting with real holes eaten through the food on the pages of the book. The illustrations are colorful and unique and very appealing. The images of the caterpillar and his food stop my boyfriend's son in his tracks; this is one thing that slows him down and grabs his short attention span. He loves to pass his fingers over the pictures and poke his fingers through the holes.

At the end of the book, my boyfriend's son is all smiles, and he always wants to read it again. Little does he know how much is learning from Eric Carle's hungry caterpillar. As a four year old, events generally occur in four days: yesterday, today, tomorrow, or "the other day." The caterpillar first gets moving and eating Monday, and lucky for us his feast lasts a week; long enough for the two of us to go through each day of the week. What the caterpillar eats each day increases in a simple pattern; one of my boyfriend's son's favorite things to do while reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar is to take over for me as the narrator and count each food item. Each time we read he gets better at counting the holes in the food. My boyfriend's son also likes to pause during the caterpillar's big feast and list each food item on the smorgasboard himself. I'll found to the food, and he tells me what it is, adding exclamations about whether or not it's one of his favorites ("Pickles... yuck!" and "Watermelon... yummy!"). By the time we get to the end of the book, my boyfriend's son is always eager to get to the last page; not because he's ready to be finished, but because he loves to examine the result of the caterpillar's feasting. He always asks me what the cocoon is, and what the caterpillar is doing in there. Perhaps the most obvious but advanced lesson taught in The Very Hungry Caterpillar is the advancement from egg to caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly. When we get to the end he is all smiles and immediately requests another reading!

Eric Carle has created a masterpiece in The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It's a book I feel good reading to my boyfriend's son. At the age of four, he's learning every day, and this book is definitely helpful to him. He loves showing off his counting skills, and really gets a kick out of the feast displayed on the pages. Such a fun, educational book is a best friend to us both.

It's been quite an adventure learning to deal with a four-year old, but our passion for books has brought us closer together. My boyfriend's son is an excellent listener, and hopefully, thanks to educational and interesting books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, he will one day be reading to me.


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More The Very Hungry Caterpillar reviews
review by . July 13, 2010
This is a perennial staple in the children's books collection I've amassed over the years.    When my son started showing interest in being read-to, I pulled out my trusty old, paperback version of this book.    BIG NO NO with a teething baby.    Our local children's librarian said that it's a great idea to allow babies to explore 'reading' with all senses, including mouth.    As my little guy liked the imagery enough …
review by . March 24, 2010
As a volunteer, I read one-on-one to preschool children at a Head Start school two days per week. I recently read this book for the first time, when it ended up in the bag of books I must choose from when I read. I VERY quickly found out that it is a very special book! Child after child in both my afternoon and morning classes chose this book when it was one of the selected books of the day.    Kids in my classes tend to go for the board books, especially the younger ones. This …
review by . September 02, 2006
I normally do not care all that much for "pop-up" type books, as they tend to sort of come apart at the seams with constant use. This one is differnt though. It is well made and is able to stand a lot of use and abuse. The story is great, tellin the life cycle of a butterfly. The illustrations are quite colorful and very easy to follow and understand. The text goes perfectly with the pictures and it is amazing how how the little one cannot keep thier fingers out of the many holes the caterpillar …
review by . April 09, 2000
Pros: VERY educational and FUN     Cons: Not one     The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of those books that a child delights in reading again and again. It contains lessons on many levels. The reader (and listener!) is exposed to number sequencing, passage of time, and the astonishing growth and metamorphosis of the caterpillar. The young pre-reader is delighted by growing list of items that the caterpillar eats. They can relate to the caterpillar growing …
About the reviewer
Laura Elizabeth 'Anderson' Brack ()
Ranked #319
I'm brand new to Lunch and looking to get settled. I write on epinions.com as laurashrti, and enjoy writing product reviews.      I'm a 27-year-old library employee working … more
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About this book


"In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf." So begins Eric Carle's modern classic,The Very Hungry Caterpillar. More than 12 million copies of this book have been sold in its original, full-sized edition, and the beloved tale of science and gluttony has been translated into 20 languages. This five-by-four-inch miniature edition is truly tiny, with tiny type, but it is a nice size for small hands to hold and flip through the pictures. Despite its diminished state, the book is complete in every detail, following the ravenous caterpillar's path as he eats his way through one apple (and the pages of the book itself) on Monday, two pears on Tuesday, three plums on Wednesday, and so on, through cherry pie and sausage--until he is really fat and has a stomachache. And no doubt you know what happens next! Kids love butterfly metamorphosis stories, and this popular favorite teaches counting and the days of the week, too. A fun gift package for caterpillar fans. (Baby to preschool)--Karin Snelson

A Look Inside The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Board Book)
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ISBN-10: 0399226907
ISBN-13: 978-0399226908
Author: Eric Carle
Genre: Children's Books
Publisher: Philomel
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