The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Book review by
Maria Strom, Common Sense Media
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Book Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Carle brings humor to caterpillar's development.

Parents say

age 3+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 3+
Based on 18 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byRichard G. August 28, 2018
Parent of a 6-year-old Written byLJB80 August 21, 2018

Perfect for 1 year olds up

Both my kids loved this book as babies and toddlers, reading it so often we had to replace it 3 times. I remember reading it myself as a school child so it real... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byema 12 December 21, 2017

terrible read

I read this book in the library last week. worst thing I have ever read. As I opened the book I felt angry. Eric Carl you did a terrible job on this book.
Kid, 11 years old November 4, 2011

eric carle has done it again!

A book that I cherished back in my younger era of age, a great pick to mold young minds along with the story, teaching them how to count and such. A great book... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

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