Trendy Tuesday: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

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For my “trendy Tuesday” blog post, I wanted to choose a book that is still popular or trendy many years after its publication so I chose to review The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. This children’s book was first published in 1969 and is still read and loved by children today. The book is about a caterpillar that pops out of an egg one Sunday morning. Readers follow the caterpillar as it eats an increasing amount of food each day throughout the week. The caterpillar eats apples, pears, plums, strawberries and oranges. On Saturday he has a feast with cake, ice cream, pickles, cheese, salami, a lollipop, cherry pie, sausage, cupcakes, and watermelon.

After the feast, he has a stomach ache but eats a leaf on Sunday and feels much better. The now not so hungry caterpillar builds himself a cocoon and after two weeks he nibbles a hole in the cocoon and comes out a butterfly.

I think there are a lot of aspects of the book that contribute to its long-lasting appeal. First, the book has really interesting illustrations. Carle did the illustrations using painted tissue paper that he cut out and glued together. This technique gives the images texture and dimension. There are also holes in the middle of the illustrations of food to indicate that the caterpillar ate the food which I think is appealing for young children.

Additionally, the story has lots of educational qualities which makes it a great book to read in young preschool or elementary school classrooms. The text itself is pretty simple and younger readers can use the illustrations to help them figure out the words they do not know. Teachers or parents can also use the story to help their students or children learn the days of the week because Carle describes what the caterpillar eats each day (“On Monday he ate through one apple, on Tuesday he ate through two pears…”). The story can also be used to learn numbers since there is a lot of counting involved in the story in terms of what how much food the caterpillar eats. Lastly, the most obvious educational value of the book is that Carle depicts the stages. Even though the caterpillars diet is not realistic/accurate, the book still portrays an accurate representation of a butterfly’s life cycle as a caterpillar goes through its transformation into a butterfly. Therefore, The Very Hungry Caterpillar has large academic value.

-Reagan Jernigan

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