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4.5 out of 5 stars
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Format: Board bookChange
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236 of 242 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is one of my all-time favorite children's books. One sunny day, a caterpillar pops out of an egg. He is very hungry and begins searching for food. Now, many of Eric Carle's books have gimmicks--the tactile web in THE VERY BUSY SPIDER and the chirping in THE VERY QUIET CRICKET, for example. The gimmick in this book is that the caterpillar eats holes through all the food, holes that are actually punched into the pages of the book. It's a good gimmick, actually. Also, many of Carle's books teach conventions--telling time in THE VERY GROUCHY LADYBUG and animal sounds in THE VERY BUSY SPIDER, for example. This one teaches the days of the week. On Monday, the caterpillar eats this, on Tuesday he eats that, and so forth. Very cute. Eventually, he becomes a fat caterpillar. He then spins himself a cocoon, where he rests for two weeks. And when he emerges...well, you can guess the results. It's a wonderful story. Best of all, the text is very simple as are the illustrations, so the book will appeal to toddlers as well as the pre-K and kindergarten crowd. In fact, it may appeal more to toddlers, because the story is so very simple. I know I read it as a kindergartener. I loved the holes but found the story rather boring. I read it to my two-year-old this spring, however, and he went nuts over it. The days of the week were lost on him, but he was fascinated by the caterpillar turning into a butterfly--he had no idea! Can't tell you how many times we read it. We also re-enacted it, crawling on the floor and eating, spinning ourselves into cocoons, and popping out with fluttery wings. In fact, he was so taken with the caterpillar-to-butterfly phenomenon that I ordered some caterpillars (I used "Insect Lore"--they are on-line--but I'm sure there are lots of other places to get them). We read THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR at each stage of their development and then right before we released them as butterflies. It was the highlight of our spring.
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116 of 122 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2000
Format: Board book
We have this book in a small and large size together with anEric Carle videotape that has the story. A young caterpillar is bornand begins to eat his way through the world and through many foods that you child will be able to identify. These foods are eaten on each of the seven days of the week, an added bonus, as your child begins to learn that Sunday is a different day that Monday. The caterpillar gets very fat. He builds a cocoon and then emerges a large beautiful butterfly. My 3 year old does not tire of this story. He learns about nature, food and the days of the week in one absolutely stunningly illustrated book. You can't get much better than this for young children. If you have young children, or if you are looking for a gift for a 4 year old and younger child, this book is highly, highly recommended. Enjoy.
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59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Story Synopsis:
- A caterpillar eats his way through different foods until he is full and weaves a cocoon transforming into a beautiful butterfly. Charming colorful illustrations of foods along with the fat caterpillar and catchy little holes in the foods where the caterpillar "had his snack" make this book a hit with young children.
Review:
- Eric Carle's classic, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" has charmed millions over the years with it's simple memorable story, striking illustrations and the gimmicky holes on each of its' pages. To date, more than 12 million copies of this book have been sold in its original, full-sized edition, and mini editions. This beloved tale of science and gluttony has also been translated into 20 languages and counting. Die-cut pages (each page has a hole where the "caterpillar" ate through the food item) illustrate what the caterpillar ate on successive days. Strikingly bold, colorful pictures and a simple text in large, clear type tell the story of a hungry little caterpillar's culinary progress through an amazing variety and quantity of foods. Full at last, he weaves a cocoon around himself and goes to sleep, to emerge a few weeks later as a wonderfully transformed and beautiful butterfly! The final, double-page picture of the butterfly is a joyous explosion of color, a vibrant affirmation of the wonder and beauty of Nature. This story is a hit every time. Carle's bright colors and clever die-cut artwork never cease to entertain even the youngest child, and there is surely nothing in nature closer to magic than the emergence of a butterfly. This is a beautiful, educational and fun book.
Literary Features For Young Readers:
- Simple words appropriate to pre-readers, younger children and ELLs (English Language Learners).
- The predictability of the words and their tie-in with the illustrations makes the book easy for pre-readers to understand.
- The rhythm of the prose makes the book memorable and fun book to read for little people.
- Strikingly bold, colorful pictures tell the story of the hungry little caterpillar in complement with the simple words.
- Eric Carle's art gimmick (i.e. the die-cut holes through the food illustrations on each page) gives small children (and the occasional adult like me!) an extra bit of fun and enjoyment
- The moral lessons of the story are simple and universal: "Don't judge a person by the way they look" and "real beauty is more than skin-deep."
Teaching Tie-ins:
- Counting skills (Foods accumulate progressively)
- The days of the week.
- Nutrition (The best food for the caterpillar is the leaf, not the candy, cake, etc. or why we can't eat chocolate and candy all day long)
- Intro to science and biology:
It is a fun book with its' "holes" that have been eaten through the pages, and become a preschoolers introduction to science/biology when the little caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly.
- Shapes (foods)
Possible Projects:
- Food or nutrition mobiles and other related projects.
- Art collages in the style or Eric Carle using torn tissue and other media.
- Simple life cycle science projects (posters are life cycle mobiles)
- Caterpillar art activity: creating caterpillars out of an egg cartoons.
- As a preschool and kindergarten teacher, I had classes perform simple plays for young children based upon this book.
-----------------------------------------------
I highly recommend this charming little book for younger children and ELLs (English Language Learners).
Review by: Maximillian Ben Hanan
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109 of 122 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2007
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Don't get me wrong. I LOVED this book as a child, so I couldn't wait to get a copy for my kid. I was in such a hurry that I didn't realize what this publisher (or Amazon) calls MINIATURE EDITION must actually mean miniature edition for hobbits. The text in this book is so small, that I'm afraid it will hurt my child's eyes. Maybe I'm paranoid, but I hate this edition of the book because it's ridiculously small. I mean, it's that revolting.

You might not mind this size, but I heavily recommend checking it out before you purchase. There a much better sizes at Target that actually look like a miniature size for humans, as opposed to this pocket sized edition. This book does not include how the very hungry caterpillar ate a small hole in my wallet either, go figure.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2002
Format: Board book
Another great story from Carle. His illustrations are always fantastic, but his stories can be erratic. This on is a dead-on hit. It is the brief story of a caterpillar's feeding frenzy before he makes his metamorphosis into a butterfly. The book introduces children to the days of the week, the names of fruits, and numbers as the caterpillar eats through different foods each day --two pears on Tuesday, three plums on Wednesday, etc.-- until he finally weaves his cocoon and emerges as a beautiful butterfly. This story is a hit every time. Carle's bright colors and clever die-cut artwork never cease to entertain even the youngest child, and there is surely nothing in nature closer to magic than the emergence of a butterfly. This is a beautiful and fun book that will enthrall any child.
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40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I bought this as an extra book for my son since this is one of his favorite stories. I had no idea the book would be smaller than a dollar bill. It is a great story, but you need to buy a bigger book than this one.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
For my grandson's first birthday, I wanted a gift that would please him visually and stimulate him mentally. A friend suggested this book because her son had enjoyed it many years ago. Feedback from my grandson, through his parents, is that he enjoys the book very much, and the toy is nice but not as captivating as listening to someone reading the book. Thanks for a very good purchase.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2004
Format: Board book
My 15 month old will sit on his own and play with this book for 10 minutes at a time, and longer if he is in my lap! I recommend the board book version because of the different size pages and great holes the caterpillar has "chewed" in it. My son puts his fingers in the holes, and I tickle them from the other side, telling him the caterpillar is getting him. He LOVES this book!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2002
Format: Board book
This was one of my favorite books when I was younger. It has very bright colors and that makes the book more enjoyable. It is about a baby caterpillar that gets very hungry and eats so many things. On one day, he eats a lot and the next day he eats more and that keeps happening for a week. Then on the last day of the week he eats so much that he feels like he will be very sick and he takes a rest then makes himself a cocoon. The caterpillar is inside the cocoon for quite a while and gets a good rest then when he comes out he's a...
I enjoy reading this book it is a very good book for kids because it has good illustrations and colors. It is also something that really happens in real life. Caterpillars are really like what they say they are in the book. I would rate this book a 5 because this is a really good book. I would suggest that you read it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2000
Format: Board book
My two and a half year old son absolutely loved it and could not put it down. The fact that it is a tiny book suits his little hands even better. I remember reading the same story but from the regular-sized book to him and he was barely interested - perhaps it has something to do with not being able to have a full view of the pictures with colours filling up most of the page. This is not the case with his tiny book as the tiny pictures filled the tiny pages very nicely. I would recommend this book as an effective means to stirring a child's interest in books and reading. I know that for my son this book is and will be his all time favourite. Eric Carle has an unusual way of capturing my son's imagination and fascination!
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