Ten Little Caterpillars



Vibrant counting book doubles as a field guide.

What parents need to know

Educational value

In addition to simply explaining a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly, the book offers a glimpse of a caterpillar’s physical world. The end pages identify each of the 10 caterpillars, what they like to eat, and what they look like as butterflies and moths. Flora and fauna throughout the book are helpfully labeled.

Positive messages

Out of 10 caterpillars, we see only one find a safe and secure place to successfully transform into a butterfly.

Positive role models
Not applicable
Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this colorful counting book offers a lot to dig into, and can even serve as a simple field guide for kids eager to explore.  A few caterpillars appear poised to become snacks, but no caterpillars come to obvious harm.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Ten little caterpillars are introduced, one by one, as they search for good places to form their chrysalides. Some do well, wriggling among melons and flowers, but others are less lucky, running into a hungry wren or splashing into the sea. The 10th caterpillar makes his way into a fruit-laden apple tree, waits through the winter in his chrysalis, and emerges among the spring flowers as a tiger swallowtail.

Is it any good?


TEN LITTLE CATERPILLARS invites comparisons to Eric Carle’s classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar, with munching critters and painted collage artwork. But this title holds its own on the same shelf, taking kids a little deeper into the tiny world of caterpillars. Illustrator Lois Ehlert, who also teamed up with the late Bill Martin Jr. for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, beautifully depicts the plants where caterpillars are drawn to food -- and the creatures they might encounter along the way.

Large pages, bold pictures, and oversize print make it a great choice for reading aloud to a group. Unobtrusive labels identify plants, animals, butterfly eggs, and more. And the final pages identify each of the caterpillars, their favorite foods, and how they appear as butterflies -- an invitation to go explore the world of caterpillars right outside your door.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the different caterpillars and how they transform. In what ways do the butterflies and moths resemble their caterpillar forms? How are they different?

  • Look closely at the caterpillars and chrysalides. Talk about camouflage and coloring, and how the caterpillars’ appearance may help them in their preferred environments.

  • Take the book outside and see if you can identify eggs, chrysalides, caterpillars, or moths and butterflies.

Book details

Author:Bill Martin Jr.
Illustrator:Lois Ehlert
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Beach Lane Books
Publication date:August 30, 2011
Number of pages:40
Publisher's recommended age(s):2 - 6
Read aloud:2 - 6
Read alone:5 - 6

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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  • Simple story, striking art make this picture book soar.
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Educator and Parent Written byTeach and Inspire May 7, 2012

Teacher says "YES!"

This is a fun way to learn about counting and about the cycle of catapillars. Ehlert, as always, has a way with her art work that makes a story POP! This is a great read along with your little ones all the way up to second or third grade.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages


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