In honor of the 43rd anniversary of the publication of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, we thought we’d repost one of our favorite posts on the subject. I adore children’s books, and this is one of my very favorites.
Every time I sit down to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar with my children, I can’t help but think that the author, Eric Carle, is a genius. At every stage of my little ones’ development, there is something in it for them.
It started with the beautiful and striking illustrations and the sound of Mommy’s voice when they were infants…
Then it became tactile, as my little girls began to follow the caterpillar through his food adventure with their little fingers…
Now my 1 year old is learning to speak, so we focus on the objects – “sun”, “apple”, and “orange” for example.
And then we’ll begin to follow the path of my now 3 year old. With each day of the week, the very hungry caterpillar eats a growing number of fruits…an excellent tool for early counting skills.
And if she’s anything like her sister, which her growing love of books is a sure indication, she’ll have this book memorized by the age of 2. We have a pocket version of this book that went EVERYWHERE with us, and she and I both knew the entire story by heart. How we loved to hear her little voice reciting its words. I can still hear it in my head now, “One Sunday morning, the warm sun came up and POP! out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar”. And my favorite part as she recited the array of junk food the caterpillar consumed on Saturday in her adapted vocabulary – “one piece of chlocate (chocolate) cake…one slice of solomami (salami)…one shaushage (sausage)…”.
Of course, at the end of this day of indulgence, the poor little caterpillar has quite a tummy-ache, which is subsequently cured by eating through one “nice green leaf”. The perfect opportunity to teach my little one about eating healthy!
Now my 3 year old and I are learning the days of the week.
Mommy: “On Monday, the caterpillar ate through one apple, but he was STILL hungry. What is the next day?”
Little J: “Tuesday!”
And I’m sure it won’t end there…One darling idea I came across recently focuses on fine motor skills. Using a green ribbon, your child can imitate the caterpillar as he or she threads the ribbon through the holes the caterpillar has left behind with each bite.
And then there is the science behind it all – the life stages of a caterpillar who begins his life as an egg and ultimately becomes a beautiful butterfly! One mom who reviewed the book on Amazon ordered caterpillars online and followed the stages of their development with her little one along with the book until they released them as butterflies in the spring…The learning opportunities with this book are endless!
I love collecting children’s books, and this is absolutely a must-have for your child’s collection.
One piece of advice? I recommend getting it as a sturdy board book or purchase more than one. We have three of them, and each shows just how much it has been “loved” by my little ones.
What is your favorite children’s classic?