The Very Hungry Caterpillar
By Maria Strom,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Funny, colorful look at caterpillar's development.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Exposes kids to days of the week as well as counting numbers related to amount of food the caterpillar eats. Also lets readers identify different fruits and other foods, and match them with their corresponding colors made possible by distinctive illustrations.
The caterpillar gets a stomachache from eating a large amount of junk food throughout the week but is able to put an end to it by finding a green leaf to eat. Readers may get the message that it's important to eat vegetables and cut down on foods that may not benefit their health in the long run.
Positive Role Models
Caterpillar eats what it needs to grow and develop into a beautiful butterfly. It learns to eat heathy fruit and foods instead of sugary treats that give it a stomachache.
Violence & Scariness
Momentary scare when caterpillar experiences a stomachache after overindulging in a variety of foods. This is quickly fixed, however, by a single green leaf.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a beloved kids' classic that babies and toddlers adore. It teaches kids the days of the week and what food the caterpillar eats, and even offers a little counting lesson. It even carries a subtle message that healthy foods -- like a leaf -- are better for you, while eating too much sugary food could give you a stomachache like the caterpillar gets. Kids love the colorful pictures and the counting game as the foods are listed in sets (one apple, two pears, etc., up to five oranges). They delight in turning the flaps and poking their fingers through the holes the ever-munching caterpillar has left behind. The Very Hungry Caterpillar also lets readers identify different fruits and other foods, and match them with their corresponding colors in Carle's signature multimedia collage illustrations.
Where to Read
Based on 14 parent reviews
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What's the Story?
As the newborn caterpillar snacks through the pages (leaving behind a hole to stick a little finger through), he gets bigger and fatter, and then turns into a lovely butterfly with wings the color of Swiss cheese, oranges, and cherry pie! Eric Carle brings humor to the development of THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR, one of the first science miracles a child learns.
Is It Any Good?
Eric Carle takes the concept of metamorphosis and presents it in a fun, colorful way that young children can understand. He draws his audience in with an adorable caterpillar that eats everything, including cupcakes and lollipops. What kid can't relate to the caterpillar's plight: indulging in favorite foods and getting a stomachache?
Carle's unique mixed-media collages burst from the pages with broad brushstrokes and bright colors. The vivid butterfly spans two pages: Purple, blue, red, green, and yellow make up his richly textured wings. The caterpillar's friendly expression adds to the book's overall warmth and charm. A counting lesson is also included, as the foods are presented in number sets (one apple, two pears ... up to five oranges). The holes in the foods that the caterpillar has munched on draw little fingers into them, adding another kid-appealing dimension to this well-thought-out book.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about The Very Hungry Caterpillar's humongous appetite and his big change. Why does the caterpillar need to eat so much? If you were that hungry, what kind of food would you want to eat lots of?
Did you know that caterpillars turn into butterflies? Have you ever seen a caterpillar or a butterfly in a garden or park?
Which picture in the book is your favorite? Which food in the story do you like to eat?
- Author: Eric Carle
- Illustrator: Eric Carle
- Genre: Picture Book
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Penguin Group
- Publication date: January 1, 1970
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 2 - 4
- Number of pages: 30
- Last updated: August 2, 2021
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