Ten Little Caterpillars is a stunning achievement by two picture book giants. Ehlert's trademark collage/cut paper illustrations are as vibrant and as beautiful as I've ever seen them. Her simple renderings of each caterpillar and the delicately nuanced colors of leaves, birds,flowers and fish are just wonderful.
The text counts each caterpillar from one to ten, in rhyming couplets that have a fantastic read aloud flow, marking this as a great choice for story time. On each page, the illustrations are marked with words describing the pictures (sea bass, winter squash, milkweed plant). This lends an entirely new dimension to a book that is much more than a rhyming counting book, but also a unique introduction to the natural world. Of course at the end, our tenth caterpillar "hung there patiently" (in a carefully marked tiger swallowtail chrysalis) "until by and by, the tenth little caterpillar became a butterfly".
Following the story itself, we see a big bold line of numbers along with illustrations and pictures of each caterpillar, what they like to eat, and the butterfly or moth they turn into. What a great investment this book will be for any young person's library, or for any story leader or teacher introducing a unit on butterflies. This is certainly a counting book that packs in a lot of extras and is a big recommend.
on November 4, 2011
This beautifully illustrated book follows ten caterpillars, each one a different species, on their journey towards becoming butterflies. The closing pages feature wonderful pictures matching each species of caterpillar with the type of butterfly they become. It's a story that's appealing to children of many ages, whether they're working on counting to ten, or doing a caterpillar/butterfly project for school.
This is a book children can grow with, and that siblings can enjoy together. The bold, high-contrast illustrations and the simple rhyming text are perfect for babies and toddlers. Counting the caterpillars and learning about their escapades makes it a great book for preschoolers as well. There's even appeal for elementary age children: each plant and animal pictured throughout the book is labeled in detail, from winter squash to poplar leaves. It's a great supplementary book for science projects.
My only caveat with this book is that certain children might find the ambiguity about the fate of some of the caterpillars to be disturbing. Some of the caterpillars meet with hungry birds or fall into bodies of water. Certainly this is true to life, but parents should be sensitive to their child's personality and likely reactions to this.
on August 10, 2012
I think Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is fabulous. I think Ten Little Caterpillars is good. The illustrations are beautiful. 3 stars for the text - there's nothing wrong with it and I would happily read it to a child, but it seemed a little blah and didn't stick with me at all. But it gets an extra star for the depiction of different kinds of caterpillars and the butterflies they turn into - I loved the last spread showing the caterpillar-butterfly pairs with information about which plants (pictured in the story, of course!) each one eats. So it's a perfectly good picture book that should belong in public libraries and in homes; it just won't stick with me as one of my personal favorites.
(Note: I received a free advance reading copy of this book from the publisher at an American Library Association Annual Conference. I was not required to write a positive review. Thank you, Simon and Schuster!)
on December 9, 2011
As a mother and (former) Kindergarten/Preschool teacher, Bill Martin Jr. and Lois Ehlert are amongst my favorite authors. This collaboration is a delight, with engaging pictures and snippets of information which both informs and encourages further investigation of a scientific "nature". This book is a wonderful addition to my "Favorite children's books" to read.