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The Very Hungry Caterpillar Hardcover – Picture Book, October 15, 1981
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Carle's classic tale of a voracious caterpillar who eats his way through the days of the week and then changes into a eautiful butterfly has been reissued in a sumptuous twenty-fifth anniversary edition with a shiny, silver-coated cover and wonderfully thick, durably pages.
—The Horn Book
"The very hungry caterpillar literally eats his way through the pages of the book—and right into your child's heart..."
"Gorgeously illustrated, brilliantly innovative..."
—The New York Times Book Review
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Eric Carle is the creator, author, and illustrator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and many other children’s books. Tomie dePaola is the author and illustrator of Strega Nona: Her Story and countless other books. They recently had a conversation about their careers as picture book authors.
Tomie dePaola: When I was only four years old, I announced to my family in particular and to the world in general that I was going to become an artist, and write stories and draw pictures for books. I never swayed from that early declaration. I’ve always been curious to know, what inspired you to become a creator and illustrator of picture books?
Eric Carle: My career began as a graphic designer and for a number of years I worked as an art director for an advertising agency in New York. In the mid 1960's Bill Martin, Jr. saw an ad of a red lobster that I had designed and asked me to illustrate his Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Well, I was set on fire! I was so inspired by this book, and the opportunity to illustrate it changed my life. After that, I started to create my own books, both words and pictures, and really it was then that I had found my true course in life.
Now, I have a question for you, Tomie. How would you describe your artistic style, and has it changed over time?
Tomie dePaola: My illustration style is heavily influenced by folk art--strong simple shapes, bold lines, color, color, color and a deceptive simplicity. My style began to develop early in art school, and through the years, it hasn’t changed very much, but it has refined itself. How would you describe yours?
Eric Carle: My aim with my work is to simplify and refine, be logical and harmonious. I like to use simple shapes, bright colors and a lot of white space. I write for the child inside of me. That is always where I begin.
Tomie dePaola: I do, as well. The only audience I keep in mind is that four-year-old in me. People sometimes ask me what advice I would give to young artists. I always think of the wonderful advice I received from my twin cousins when they were in art school in the late '30s. They told me, “Practice, practice, practice and don’t copy.”
Eric Carle: I often tell people about the four magic letters: DO IT. I want to be encouraging but I can only offer the example of my own experience, which is just one approach. There are many wonderful artists to learn about, which is important. But you must use your own imagination. You have to just do it.
Tomie dePaola: How do you feel knowing that a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar is sold every 30 seconds, somewhere in the world?
Eric Carle: It is hard for me, maybe for others too, to grasp this concept. But I am truly honored that my story is enjoyed by so many and that it is now being shared by a generation of parents who grew up with my book. How about your Strega Nona. She is one of your most popular characters. Can you share how she came to be?
Tomie dePaola: In the ‘70s when I was teaching at a college, we were required to attend faculty meetings. I always sat in the back with a yellow legal pad. Everyone thought I was taking notes. At one meeting a doodle appeared of a little lady with a big nose and a big chin. I named her Strega Nona, and the rest is history. Speaking of history, how will you be celebrating the third annual Very Hungry Caterpillar Day this year?
Eric Carle: On The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day, March 20th, I will probably be at home with my wife, Bobbie (I am a bit of a hermit, actually). But I will be saying a little toast to the caterpillar for whom I have a special place in my heart. And speaking of holidays, isn’t your favorite holiday Christmas. Do you have a special Christmas memory?
Tomie dePaola: Christmas is my favorite holiday. My favorite Christmas was the one when I received tons and tons of art supplies: everything from an easel to paints, pads and pads of paper, and “how to draw” books.
A Look Inside The Very Hungry Caterpillar
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From the Inside Flap
Brilliantly innovative designer and artist Eric Carle has dramatized the story of one of Nature's commonest yet loveliest marvels, the metamorphosis of the butterfly, in a picture book to delight as well as instruct the very youngest reader or listener. Cleverly die-cut pages show what the caterpillar ate on successive days, graphically introducing sets of up to 10 objects and also the names of the days of the week in rotation, as well as telling the central story of the transformation of the caterpillar. The final, double-page picture of the butterfly is a joyous explosion of color, a vibrant affirmation of the wonder and beauty of Nature.
- Publisher : World of Eric Carle (October 15, 1981)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 32 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0399208534
- ISBN-13 : 978-0399255564
- Reading age : 1 - 4 years, from customers
- Lexile measure : AD460L
- Item Weight : 1.11 pounds
- Dimensions : 12.15 x 0.48 x 8.56 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on November 4, 2018
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I just purchased the Giant Hardcover version of this excellent classic now in its 40th year. It came in a beautiful, beautiful big box with lovely thick glowing pages, a treasure for a classroom. (The only negative might be that I have to repeatedly do this from my own pocket with California continuing to disgrace public education in its lack of funding and the national sideshow to keep teacher's pounded while they do exactly that, get what they need out of their teacher's pocket, most often with no thanks. Or worse while treating them disrespectfully. However it's just to be expected now I suppose.)
That said this is just beautiful.
It is a book about transformation. I am a 1st grade teacher delighted to be able to use it as I develop lessons for my class. What is happening, of course, is that they are taking the stories read to them not long ago and then reading them to one another and beginning their journey into literacy with books like this. It is, as Carle said in a tape I own of him discussing his book making, of his making, easing the journey from home to school, making it more comfortable and a better experience.
This story of the caterpillar munching away teaches on so many levels, formal and informal- from love of color, to fascination with the holes( the gimmick if you will), from the life cycle of this butterfly, to the days of the week, the idea of change...it's rich with possibilities and spawned the idea for derivative books my class is making this week and many joyful moments acting out and reading the text.
Who might want such a big book?
It's a great thing to donate to a primary teacher, I'd have loved it when my children were young, it might be a really exciting gift to a family with several youngsters 1 to 7 in age that might enjoy a really exciting special big gift, something that celebrates books, perhaps combined with a butterfly kite. That would be just a great combination if someone could afford it. You'd be giving something extraordinary. (And it could then one day rest with their children.)
Carle is among my favorite writers for younger children, and make no mistake, what appears simple and so easy is the product of someone that has done their personal work to a very high level. Distilled something to an essence. That this is 40 years old amazes me. It's the year to say, "thank you Eric Carle" for a wonderful contribution to literacy.
This edition is a Dreaming Fingers product by Karadi Tales Company (which appears to be located in India, based on the company's website and the publication information in the book). The ISBN number is 81-8190-083-9, and the book measures about 13" by 10" in size. There is no Braille on the cover of the book.
Inside the book, every page (except the copyright information) - including the title page and dedication page - has Braille text, and all illustrations are made completely out of textured materials. The textures are distinct enough that by touching the pictures, one can fairly easily discern all the details of what is being illustrated. For example, the first page of the story starts with text that reads "in the light / of the moon / a little egg / lay on a leaf." The text has Braille superimposed on it. Beside the text, the illustration begins - one textured material making up the sky background, another textured material making the soft leaf, and yet another material on top of that making the bump of the little egg. So by touching the pages, one can both read the story and feel the illustrations without seeing anything.
The textured illustrations are very well made with an excellent variety of materials. Some of the edges of illustrations that were made of cloth had a tiny bit of unraveling around the edges (but nothing serious), and the antenna of a caterpillar on one page came loose in my copy, but overall the quality of the illustrations and their textured materials is quite good. The variety of textures used is far superior to most "touch & feel" books. I counted at least 20 different kinds of materials used, including twine, flannel, pipe cleaner, burlap, satin, and leather. The book appears to be something that would hold up over time and withstand a fair amount of rubbing as one explores the illustrations by repeatedly touching them.
The story includes the full text; this is not an abbreviated version. Even the pages with the foods are in the same format as the original edition and include the little hole in each food.
I believe that even children who are able to see the pictures would thoroughly enjoy this edition of the book with its creative manner of allowing the reader to interact more in depth with the story through touch.
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on October 4, 2020
I work in a Coffee Shop and to try and do something different, I do children's readings once a month. The latest was the very hungry caterpillar. I drew a big collage and got the kids to colour it in, there was a couple of caterpillars, 3D words the very hungry caterpillar , all the fruits were in there, and the cakes, cheese etc., An individual little drawing of the very hungry caterpillar for each child.The best part of the afternoon for me was the children eating all the fruit, cakes, cheese, and other items I had bought so they could join in the story. All the children joined in and so many of them knew all the words by heart.
If you are dubious about this book, please do not be, it is an enjoyable story, but can also be very educational as well.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on November 12, 2021