Saturday, 10 November 2007

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

If book awards are given for value-for-money, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" will certainly win it. I'm not surprised then to know that this American classic published in 1969 has been translated into over 50 languages!

Reading this book, young children will learn:
  1. the metamorphosis/life cycle of an egg --> larva (caterpillar) --> pupa (cocoon) --> butterfly
  2. days of the week
  3. numbers 1-5
  4. different types of fruits and snacks
The richly illustrated book also encourages interaction with holes punched through each page, showing that the caterpillar has eaten its way through the types of food.

Another useful lesson is the stomachache the caterpillar gets after eating too many snacks on Saturday morning!

Buy "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and other books by Eric Carle:

Initially, my son (at about 20 months old) wasn't interested in the book until I asked him
"Where's the caterpillar?"
That jumpstarted an eagerness to trace the caterpillar's path from page to page. After reading each page, I'll ask the above question and he eagerly points out the caterpillar emerging.

To encourage him to speak, I'll prompt:


Sometimes, he's lazy to point to the page and will only lift a little finger. I'll ask in a puzzled voice,

"Where? Where's the caterpillar? Show Mummy..."
He'll say, "There!" and puts his little finger on the page :)
He also loves the Saturday page with all the colourful foods, which is the ONLY page I have cause for complaint as it's got all the tempting, junk food found in American culture: a lollipop, a chocolate cake, cupcakes.

Oh, well, I've taken it as an opportunity to teach him about good nutrition, emphasizing that these are snacks to be eaten once in a while!

And also what happens if you indulge in too many snacks :D

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