Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Book Review

Since "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," written and illustrated by Eric Carle, was first published in 1969, you might have read it as a child. 

This interesting picture book is all about a caterpillar that eats a lot of fruits and leaves before finally building a pupa around himself and later emerging from the pupa as a beautiful butterfly. The recipient of multiple literary awards and one significant award for graphic design, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," is said to be "one of the greatest childhood classics of all time." Ever since it was first published, as many as 30 million copies of it have been sold all over the world.

The illustrations are collage style with pages riddled with holes. It tells the tale of the hungry caterpillar in very simple words. It teaches young readers how to count, the names of various fruits, the names of days of the week, and the life cycle of a butterfly.

Although caterpillars don't really eat the type of food mentioned in the book, it does give children a very good idea of the various stages in the life cycle of a butterfly. Owing to this, it bears the endorsement of the Royal Entomological Society.

The Story

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" is about a caterpillar that has just hatched from an egg and is feeling very hungry. He eats fruits in increasing order during the next five days. But on Saturday, he gets a stomach ache and decides to eat only leaves when he recovers. He then builds a cocoon around himself and remains in it for a fortnight. He then emerges from the cocoon as a large, beautiful butterfly with multi-colored wings.

An Award Winner

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is the recipient of several awards.
·         An award from the American Institute of Graphic Arts in 1970
·         The French Selection du Grand Prix des Treize in 1972
·         The Japanese Nakamori Reader's Prize in 1975
·         In 1969, the New York Times placed it in the list of "Ten Best Picture Books of the Year."
·         It got the 199th place in a poll of 2003 called Big Read, which the BBC had conducted to identify UK's most read books.
·         An online poll of 2007 conducted by the National Education Association placed it in the list of "Teacher's Top 100 Books for Children."
·         A survey conducted by the School Library Journal identified it as the second best picture books for children, the top book being "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak.

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" has been translated into 40 languages. Librarians, teachers, and parents have extensively used it as a teaching aid.  Over the years, different editions of the book have been published, incorporating additional features such as games, cards, and activities. "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" has also given rise to several educational resources and toys and has found its way into television shows and commercials.

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is available at Amazon as a hardcover, a paperback, and a board book. 

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