"In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf." So begins one of the most beloved picture books of all times, right up there with The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. (If you'd like to see a list of 100+ picture book classics, go to: http://readkiddoread.ning.com/profiles/blogs/great-classic-illustrated.) Carle's singular style of translucent painted tissue-paper collage illustrations is instantly recognizable, even to young children, and his hungry caterpillar even made it onto a U.S. stamp several years back.
A tiny and very hungry green and yellow caterpillar with a little red face pops out of his egg and starts looking for food. In pages of graduated size, with die-cut holes in each food, he eats his way through the week, starting on Monday with one apple, and moving through two pears, three plums, four strawberries, and five oranges, but he's still hungry. On Saturday, he eats a glorious array of junk food, but on Sunday, he simplifies, eating through a nice green leaf. The now big, fat caterpillar builds a big brown cocoon around himself, and two weeks later, lifts off from the exhilarating final double page, as a multicolored butterfly.
Themes : ANIMALS. TIME. FOOD. TRANSFORMATIONS.
CRITICS HAVE SAID
- The story progresses with the caterpillar spinning a cocoon and waking up into a butterfly, illustrating one of nature’s common but lovely marvels.
IF YOU LOVE THIS BOOK, THEN TRY:
- Brown, Ruth. If at First You Do Not See. Henry Holt, 1983.
- Campbell, Rod. Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book. Little Simon, 2007, c1982.
- Carle, Eric. The Grouchy Ladybug. HarperCollins, 1997.
- Carle, Eric. Hello, Red Fox. Simon & Schuster, 1998.
- Carle, Eric. Mister Seahorse. Philomel, 2004.
- Carle, Eric. The Mixed-Up Chameleon. HarperCollins, 1984.
- Carle, Eric. “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” Said the Sloth. Philomel, 2002.
- Carle, Eric. 10 Little Rubber Ducks. HarperCollins, 2005.
- Carle, Eric. Today Is Monday. Philomel, 1993.
- Carle, Eric. The Very Busy Spider. Philomel, 1984.
- Carle, Eric. The Very Clumsy Click Beetle. Philomel, 1999.
- Carle, Eric. The Very Quiet Cricket. Philomel, 1990.
- Edwards, Pamela Duncan. Clara Caterpillar. HarperCollins, 2001.
- Ehlert, Lois. Color Zoo. HarperCollins, 1989.
- Ehlert, Lois. Eating the Alphabet. Harcourt, 1989.
- Ehlert, Lois. Waiting for Wings. Harcourt, 2001.
- Ernst, Lisa Campbell. Bubba and Trixie. Simon & Schuster, 1997.
- Heiligman, Deborah. From Caterpillar to Butterfly. HarperCollins, 1996.
- Lavies, Bianca. Monarch Butterflies: Mysterious Travelers. Dutton, 1993.
- Martin, Bill, Jr. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Illus. by Eric Carle. Henry Holt, 1983, c1967.
- Swope, Sam. Gotta Go! Gotta Go! Farrar, 2000.