The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Common Sense Media says

Carle brings humor to caterpillar's development.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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

This review of The Very Hungry Caterpillar was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bySpiff April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
Wonderful classic for all ages!
Adult Written byLyndaSLP April 9, 2008
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

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.
Kid, 8 years old February 28, 2010
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

Cute book

When I was in kindergarten, I simply enjoyed it.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential School Tools