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The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a picture book written and illustrated by Eric Carle. It follows the life cycle of a caterpillar as it starts by coming out of its egg, all the way to becoming a butterfly. It teaches the days of the week and counting up to five. It is hugely popular, and has been translated into 50 different languages.

Reader's Reviews


A+++ Brilliant book that covers the life cycle of a butterfly from egg to flight. Also covers days of the weeks, colours, counting and healthy eating!! A firm favourite with pretty well any small child :-)


This is a great, classic book. The kids love to put their fingers in the holes in the section of the book where the caterpillar eats the fruit!


The best, a total classic, and really cute.


Eric Carle is best known for his illustrations for this all time favorite children's book. Here is what was the inspriation for this book in his words: "One day I was punching holes with a hole puncher into a stack of paper, and I thought of a bookworm and so I created a story called A Week with Willi the Worm. Then later my editor, who didn't like the idea of a worm, suggested a caterpillar and I said "Butterfly!" And the rest is history."


The Very Hungry Caterpillar as a resource I have seen copies of this book in every FS classroom and it is not uncommon in KS1 classrooms; in addition to being a classic it can also be very useful as a resource. My reasons for thinking this way are as follows: • The story is very simple to understand. Concepts introduced or expanded upon in the story (i.e.: life cycles, counting, etc.) are unambiguous, clear and colourful. • The large bold print and colourful illustrations lend it well to being shown to a large group. Furthermore, you can easily read it out of the corner of your eye – ideal for showing as you read, perhaps pointing to words as you read them. This will hopefully keep your class’s attention more than reading then showing; helping your children learn the art of listening in an orderly fashion (ELG 01) • The story provides scope to ask “how and why” questions (ELG number 02); “how does the caterpillar get ready to become a butterfly”, or any other questions from which you could gauge a level of understanding. The story provides ample opportunity for making recounts and talking about probable outcomes (ELG 3), for example, you could write (ELG 10) and recount about what the caterpillar had for lunch, children’s favourite food, etc. • The story provides a great way of introducing/relating to a topic on mini – beasts or life cycles (ELG 14). • The artwork within the book (or at least the style of it) would be easy to replicate using materials commonly available in classrooms, and could be used to theme collages or tessellations. • There is also a moderate capacity to practice counting up to 5 and up to 10. This book has been around for nearly 30 years; this fact is testament to its timeless educational value.

Source: 3x3 The Magazine of Contemporary Illustration Vol.Six No.Three
EricCarle Reads VHC

Eric Carle

Parental Guidance

  • Reading Age: 3+
  • Reading Aloud Age: 2+

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