The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The incredible rave out there about this book has put me off buying it for a long time. We had tried a number of other Eric Carle’s books. Until he was almost two, none of them particularly raised little gosling’s interest, so there I had another reason to not look at it. They had it in big numbers at our local bookstore in Pretoria, but always sealed. Once little gosling got hooked on “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?!”, I opened up again to Eric Carle. The decisive moment for the cute little caterpillar was Michelle Obama’s read aloud for PBS some months ago. I finally got to see the inside of it and i found it so much fun that we had it in our book bin as soon as we could have it delivered. We have been reading it every day since :).

There’s so much to learn for a young child from such a simple story. A caterpillar comes out of the egg, eats everything that it finds (and that is lots!); then it wraps itself into a cocoon and it reemerges as a beautiful caterpillar. It makes for a good practice for counting from one to five, for learning the days of the week, for exploring fruits and food and expanding the little ones’ vocabulary. Not to mention, understanding where butterflies come from. I find it fascinating how Eric Carle manages to expose tiny details of the natural world in a wider educational context. Not too many, not too few words, just the right amount. Perfect! I would definitely choose this over many other picture books. It’s a wonderful library starter! 

Little gosling has learned it by heart by now and is reciting it alongside me reading it. He likes to practice counting the fruits, reminding me on the way that he loves strawberries and oranges and “bebe not like plums”. He has started to recite the names of the weekdays: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Sixthday :)))). He simply skips Wednesday. He manages to say all the foods the caterpillar eats on the Saturday, even though he’s never eaten any of them :P. His favourite is “lollipop”, the sound of which he finds amusing and bursts into laughter. My favourite one is the salami, which he reads as “samali” :))). He’s empathetic with the caterpillar afterwards, “oooh, his tummy hurts”. He also likes the sound of “cocoon” and his excitement builds up through “pushing his way out” and coming out as a “faaaa” (aka butterfly)!!!! We have so much fun reading it!

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