Friday, August 27, 2010

Food for Thought: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Eric Carle has written and illustrated many great books for young children. He uses a lot of repetition in his stories and this is especially appealing for the very young ones. His simple but colourful animal drawings pair perfectly with the text.

Our favourite Carle book is The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We've had our copy so long I can't even recall where we got it. And it looks old, too. The pages are barely attached at the spine...hanging on by a thread! But I fondly remember lying with our youngest in bed reading the book when she was only a few months old. Something about the book caught her attention, either the bold colours or the repetition of the story or maybe it was just the inflection in our voices as we read the words.

This is a tale of the metamorphosis of a caterpillar. An egg lays on a leaf just waiting to break open so its occupant can discover life. Soon the caterpillar emerges and begins looking for food. He is so hungry he munches on every bit of food he encounters, a different fruit for every day of the week and a whole plethora of foods on Saturday, including an ice cream cone and a sausage! Unfortunately the caterpillar soon learns the perils of binge eating: a tummy ache. Satisfied that he's had enough to eat the caterpillar builds a cocoon and after a couple of weeks emerges as a lovely, colourful butterfly.

In addition to the easy-to-remember text and the colourful pictures, this book is unique in that each page of food features small holes that follow through to the next pages. You can just imagine the tiny caterpillar burrowing his way through each of the foods on his way to the next one. Cute as can be!

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