The Very Hungry Caterpillar Book Poster Image

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Carle brings humor to caterpillar's development.
Parents recommend

What parents need to know

Educational value

This children's book exposes readers to days of the week as well as counting numbers related to the amount of food that the caterpillar eats. The Very Hungry Caterpillar also allows readers to identify different fruits and other foods, and match them with their corresponding colors made possible by the distinctive illustrations.

Positive messages

The caterpillar gets a stomach ache 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 realize the importance of eating vegetables and cutting down on foods that may not benefit their health in the long run.

Violence & scariness

Momentary scare when the caterpillar experiences a stomach ache after overindulging in a variety of foods. This is quickly fixed, however, by a single green leaf.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that children love the colorful pictures that accompany the counting game story. They delight in turning the flaps and poking their fingers through the caterpillar holes.

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, fatter, and turns into a lovely butterfly with wings the color of Swiss cheese, oranges, and cherry pie! Carle brings humor to the development of the 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 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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the caterpillar's humongous appetite and his metamorphosis. If you were that hungry, what kind of food would you want to eat lots of? Why does the caterpillar need to eat so much?

Book details

Author:Eric Carle
Illustrator:Eric Carle
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:January 1, 1970
Number of pages:30
Publisher's recommended age(s):2 - 4

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Adult Written byLyndaSLP April 9, 2008

Enjoyable book -- interactive and even educational for your little ones

Another author that you have to love. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is eye catching and intriguing to toddlers and preschoolers. How much can one caterpillar eat? And what happens when he eats that much? Good introduction to the days of the week as well as some great food vocabulary. A definite plus to add to your toddler's library.
Adult Written bySpiff April 9, 2008
Wonderful classic for all ages!
Kid, 8 years old February 28, 2010

Cute book

When I was in kindergarten, I simply enjoyed it.