The Very Hungry Caterpillar fulfils many of the key requirements for a children’s story.
First published in 1994 by Eric Carle. With over thirty three million copies sold and translated into fifty different languages this is obviously a timeless classic.
Firstly it comes in various editions e.g. pop-up, hardback, paperback and even in a buggy board book. It has lovely colourful pages to keep a child engaged and a nice hole for little fingers to poke through.
From a teaching viewpoint the book uses the days of the week, and simple foods that a child can relate to. Also the foods promote healthy choices, apples oranges etc. There is also counting e.g. ‘On Monday he ate one apple.’
Although this is not a rhyming book there is a lovely rhythm that children like and can understand. Children quickly understand that the Caterpillar is going to eat something different every day and there is always the possibility of the Caterpillar being full. However the author leaves the best to the last with the big reveal. By the end of the week the poor Caterpillar gets a tummy ache and eats a nice green leaf, and falls asleep. Of course we know he then emerges after two weeks as a beautiful butterfly!
Children however don’t know this and are always thrilled to find out that a caterpillar can turn into a butterfly.
Finally there is also a moral to the story, that beauty is more than skin deep.
There are also countless opportunities to act out this story with your little one either at home / playgroup or toddlers meeting. From dressing up, colouring in /painting/making egg box Caterpillars. Picnics with the foods / fruit salad / collages. Even the life cycle of an insect.
Let me know if you have read this book, or undertaken some kind of activity as a result of reading it.