The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle Book Review

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“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is a classic children’s book created by renowned author and illustrator Eric Carle. First published in 1969, it has captivated young readers for generations with its vibrant, hand-painted illustrations and engaging storyline. As a picture book, it skillfully captures the essence of a caterpillar’s life journey, transforming into a beautiful butterfly through the lens of children’s literature.

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle Book Review

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Eric Carle’s mastery of storytelling and visual artistry can be seen in the book, as it follows the journey of a tiny caterpillar hatching from an egg, embarking on its pursuit to satisfy its insatiable hunger. The caterpillar’s appetite leads it to consume numerous items, many of them healthy and natural, such as fruits and leaves, while others are not-so-healthy treats. The simple yet memorable narrative emphasizes the importance of proper nutrition from early childhood, as well as the concept of metamorphosis in nature.

At the heart of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” lies a timeless tale that resonates with audiences of all ages. With its beautiful illustrations and accessible language, the book remains a beloved classic in the realm of children’s literature. This summary will delve deeper into the story and its themes, revealing why it has enjoyed such enduring popularity among generations of readers.

Overview of the Book

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is a classic children’s book by Eric Carle that tells the story of a little caterpillar who eats his way through different foods. On a nice green leaf, a tiny egg hatches into a little caterpillar who eats and eats until he gets a stomach ache. The first time he eats something other than a leaf, it’s an ice-cream cone. He eats through different foods each day of the week until he finds an error in his diet. The story of the very hungry caterpillar is a short story that teaches children about the life cycle of a caterpillar.

The book has colorful pictures that show the caterpillar growing from a small creature to a fat caterpillar. The book is a great tool for critical thinking as it introduces children to different sizes, bright colors, and different languages. The book also shows the importance of eating healthy foods and avoiding junk food.

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At the end of the book, the caterpillar transforms into a beautiful butterfly. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” has been enjoyed by generations of children in the United States and around the world. Copies of this book are available in board books, e-reader devices, and in different languages.

Eric Carle’s other books, like “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” and “The Grouchy Ladybug,” have also become very popular among very young children. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is one of his first books and remains a favorite among children of all ages. It is a classic picture book that takes children on a reading journey with different food items like a piece of cherry pie, a slice of salami, a piece of chocolate cake, and a slice of Swiss cheese. The book’s publisher has sold millions of copies of his books, and his work continues to inspire and educate children all over the world.

Brief Synopsis

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a beloved children’s story written by Eric Carle. In this simple yet engaging tale, a tiny caterpillar hatches from an egg and sets out on a journey to find food. Throughout the story, the caterpillar eats his way through various types of food, culminating in a sizeable feast that ultimately leaves him feeling unwell.

Learning from this experience, the caterpillar decides to eat healthier and transitions into a beautiful butterfly. The story effectively combines colorful illustrations with a meaningful lesson on healthy eating habits and life cycles.

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Main Character

The main character in The Very Hungry Caterpillar is, of course, the eponymous caterpillar. The story revolves around the growth and transformation of this tiny creature. Initially “very hungry,” the caterpillar indulges in a diverse array of treats, including fruits, vegetables, and even some less healthy options like cake and sausage.

Throughout the story, the character learns that binge eating can lead to discomfort, and thus, they choose to adopt a more nutritious diet, ultimately causing a stunning metamorphosis. The character’s journey demonstrates the importance of moderation and healthy choices and has resonated with children and adults alike for generations.

Details and Themes

Counting and Days of the Week

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a children’s book that introduces the concepts of counting and days of the week in a fun and engaging way. The story begins with a small caterpillar hatching from its egg on Sunday. As each day passes, the caterpillar consumes an increasing amount of food, which also coincides with the numerical sequence from one to five.

  • Monday: 1 Apple
  • Tuesday: 2 Pears
  • Wednesday: 3 Plums
  • Thursday: 4 Strawberries
  • Friday: 5 Oranges

By emphasizing the days of the week and incorporating counting, the book provides a clear structure for young readers to follow and reinforces early math skills.

Food and Nutrition

A significant part of The Very Hungry Caterpillar focuses on the varieties of food the caterpillar consumes. After eating fruits for five days, the caterpillar indulges in an array of unhealthy foods on Saturday, including:

  • Chocolate cake
  • Ice cream
  • Pickle
  • Swiss cheese
  • Salami
  • Lollipop
  • Cherry pie
  • Sausage
  • Cupcake
  • Watermelon

After this feast, the caterpillar experiences a stomachache, which teaches children the importance of healthy eating. The following day, Sunday, the caterpillar returns to a balanced diet by eating a nutritious green leaf.


At the heart of the story is the theme of metamorphosis, showcasing the caterpillar’s transformation and growth through its life cycle stages. The Very Hungry Caterpillar presents simplified stages of a butterfly’s life cycle:

  1. Egg
  2. Caterpillar (Larva)
  3. Cocoon (Pupa)
  4. Butterfly (Adult)

These stages help young readers learn about the biological process of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. By the end of the story, the once-small and hungry caterpillar transforms into a beautiful and vibrant butterfly, illustrating the wonders of nature and growth.

Watch The Very Hungry Caterpillar Read Aloud on Youtube

Watch as Brightly Storytime reads The Very Hungry Caterpillar aloud to see if its a book you’d like to add to your home library!

Artistic Elements

Illustrations and Design

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is renowned for its captivating illustrations and design. The book’s art is colorful and eye-catching, making it an ideal tool for engaging children in the story. The vivid colors and bold shapes employed in the illustrations effectively showcase a unique artistic style. Each page features a distinct color palette, allowing readers to feel the gradual transitions as the caterpillar grows and the story progresses. The artistry in this book appeals to children and adults alike, as it manages to convey a simple yet meaningful and beautiful story.

Unique Features

One particularly exceptional feature in this book is the presence of holes in the pages that represent the caterpillar’s consumption of various items. This creative addition adds a tactile element that allows young readers to physically feel the progress made by the hungry caterpillar as it eats its way through the book.

In summary, The Very Hungry Caterpillar incorporates various artistic elements to create a visually and tactilely engaging reading experience. With its stunning illustrations, design, and unique features like the holes in the pages, this book captures the essence of creativity and innovation in the realm of children’s literature.

Reception and Impact

Awards and Recognition

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, written by Eric Carle, has received numerous awards since its publication in 1969. It was awarded the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Award in 1970, and has been published by prominent publishers such as Penguin Random House and Scholastic. The book has sold over 50 million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than 62 languages.

Appeal to Children

As a classic children’s literature book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar captivates young readers through its vibrant illustrations, simplistic storyline, and engaging interactive elements, such as die-cut pages and flip-ups. The book’s portrayal of a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly helps children develop an early understanding of nature and the life cycle, while also teaching them essential concepts such as counting, days of the week, and basic nutrition.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle Book Cover
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle Book Cover

Cultural Impact

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s undeniable appeal to children has solidified its status as a childhood classic. Its educational value has led to its widespread use in preschools, kindergartens, and elementary schools around the world. Additionally, the book’s iconic illustrations and memorable storyline have inspired various adaptations, merchandise, and even a Google Doodle celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019. The cultural impact of The Very Hungry Caterpillar continues to resonate with generations of readers, making it an enduring staple in the world of children’s literature.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a beloved children’s book, captures the hearts of young readers by presenting a fascinating journey of a tiny caterpillar transforming into a beautiful butterfly. As a classic piece of kid lit, it continues to be an essential addition to children’s libraries.

Through its vibrant illustrations, the story provides an engaging and educational experience. Children learn days of the week, counting, and healthy eating habits as they follow the adventure of the insatiable caterpillar. Similar in theme, “A Week with Willi the Worm” presents another opportunity for children to associate learning with fun.

The board book format of The Very Hungry Caterpillar is perfect for small hands, making it an ideal choice for parents and caregivers introducing their children to the world of reading. The durable design allows it to withstand wear and tear, ensuring many generations of young readers the pleasure of experiencing this delightful story.

The everlasting popularity of the book speaks to its timeless appeal and importance in children’s literature. One reason for this is the book’s ability to resonate with both children and adults on an emotional level. As they see the caterpillar grow and change, children can relate to their own journey of growth and transformation.

In conclusion, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a captivating and enduring children’s book that provides valuable lessons while fostering a sense of enjoyment and curiosity in reading. Its cherished place in children’s libraries remains unchallenged, and many book reviews continue to reflect on its relevance in children’s literature. Recognized as a treasured classic, it will undoubtedly continue to enrich young lives for generations to come.

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