Ten Little Caterpillars comes to life in this newly illustrated re-release of the 1967 Martin classic. The story follows ten different caterpillars as they move through nature, scaling trees and exploring vegetable gardens. Several caterpillars meet their fate in the form of hungry birds and large fish until the tenth caterpillar evolves into a beautiful butterfly.
Through unique rhymes and vivid verbs, Martin humorously shows what can happen to caterpillars in the wild, but it is Lois Ehlert’s illustrations that truly make this book. Ehlert’s illustrations are large, colorful, and original. She uses vibrant watercolor to create eye-catching images that are worthy of a close-up look. While simultaneously wanting to turn the page to see the next illustration, it is nearly impossible to look away from the images in view.
This book is a worthy addition to any children’s collection, but it would be especially useful in preschool classrooms. Teachers could use this book to teach children about nature or, more specifically, insects. Ehlert beautifully illustrates different types of caterpillars, even including a glossary with illustrations of those caterpillars as butterflies. Furthermore, different plants and insects are labeled throughout the story.
Though many will make comparisons to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Martin and Ehlert’s book is a masterpiece in its own right.
Reviewed by Elisheva Gralnik