My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is one of those quintessential books that every child should experience growing up.
As the title suggests, the majority of this book is about a very hungry caterpillar who eats and eats and eats. However, there is much more to this book. The first theme deals with the life cycle of caterpillars. The story begins with a single egg from which a tiny caterpillar hatches. The caterpillar has an ever increasing appetite and eats more and more each day. When he can’t eat anymore, he builds a cocoon where he stays for 2 weeks during his transformation. He finally eats his way out of the cocoon and spreads his new wings as a butterfly. This is a terrific way to introduce the wonder of science to young children. This book can be used as a springboard for parents and teachers to start a discussion of life cycles of various animals.
The concepts of counting and days of the week are also included in this book. The caterpillar is born on a Sunday, starts eating on Monday, and eats more and more food each day of the week until finally eating a leaf on the following Sunday. Since each day of the week is clearly represented, this book can help children learn the order of the days. Each weekday also showcases an increasing number; i.e. Monday shows 1 apple, Tuesday shows 2 pears, and so on. Children love counting out the pictures on each page and can even locate where the corresponding number word is in the text as they progress in ability.
Personally, I’ve always loved this book. The illustrations are adorable and incorporate bright vibrant colors in a mixed media form that is purely Eric Carle. The thicker and varying sizes of pages with hole punches invite the reader to truly experience and enjoy the book in a physical manner. Even though the caterpillar is not personified, it is still lovable and full of life. Whenever people are looking for a classic picture book to add to a child’s new bookshelf, I always ask if “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is already on the shelf or not.
On a personal note, I LOVE my copy of this book because I was lucky enough to have attended a book signing of Eric Carle where he signed my book AND drew a little caterpillar next to his name!!! =D