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The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

4.4 163
by Eric Carle

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Now even younger children can follow the little green caterpillar as he eats his way to becoming a beautiful butterfly in this sturdy board book.


Now even younger children can follow the little green caterpillar as he eats his way to becoming a beautiful butterfly in this sturdy board book.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble Staff
A caterpillar hatches out of his egg and is very hungry. On his first day, he eats through one piece of food; on his second, two, and so on. Little holes cut in the pages allow toddlers to wiggle their fingers through the food, just like the caterpillar. Vivid and colorful illustrations and ingenious layered pages help preschoolers learn the days of the week, how to count, and how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. This picture book is considered a must for every toddler's library.
Publishers Weekly

In honor of the 40th anniversary of Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar comes the first-ever pop-up edition of this book. When the familiar, tiny caterpillar pops out of his egg, a dial lets readers help him chug across Carle's earthy color palette. Next, the caterpillar eats his way through a week's worth of pop-up fruit, as well as a full-page display of sweet and savory treats, (resulting in a stomach-ache), before his eventual transition into a butterfly. The pop-ups, particularly a half-cylinder tree trunk that sprouts from the center of the spread and a large accordionlike cocoon, are well executed and engaging. While the prominent use of white space lends a sparser feel than in the picture book, the shimmering wings of the pop-up butterfly dazzle on the final spread. Ages 3-up. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Horn Book
. . . there are moments of brilliance . . . this edition has much to offer . . .
Children's Literature - Eleanor Heldrich
In April of 2009, this book reached number three on the New York Times Best Seller List, which is quite an achievement for a pop-up book, and an expensive one! This edition of a book first published in 1969 and popular with children and their parents ever since, is 11 ½" by 8 ½" and 23" wide when it is fully opened! It begins with a pop-up an of an 8" green leaf with a small white egg lying in the middle. The second page has a wheel to turn that makes a new little green caterpillar move across the page, under a "warm sun," to start looking for something to eat. On the third double-page spread, fifteen large assorted fruits stand up, all of them with holes made by the caterpillar. The next page sends up pickles, cheese, sausages and pie, cake, ice cream, watermelon, and candy, all with signs of nibbling. "That night he had a stomach ache" but the next day he "ate through one nice green leaf and felt much better." A pull tab moves the caterpillar slowly down the stem of the leaf. Turn the page and there are two large flaps opening outward on opposite sides of the spread. One reveals that the caterpillar has grown quite large and the other opens to show a large brown cocoon, shaped like a Quonset hut, that he has built around himself and where he stays "inside for more than two weeks." Then, finally, on the last page, he emerges to become a magnificent 18" long glittering, multi-colored butterfly! All of the delights of the original story are preserved. It is just much, much bigger and it pops up. Reviewer: Eleanor Heldrich
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
One Sunday a very hungry caterpillar hatched. He eats his way through a variety of foods that are boldly and colorfully illustrated. The story progresses with the caterpillar spinning a cocoon and waking up into a butterfly, illustrating one of nature's common but lovely marvels.

Product Details

Gardners Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Age Range:
2 - 5 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

By Eric Carle

Philomel Books

Copyright ©1986 Eric Carle All right reserved.
ISBN: 0399213015

Chapter One

In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf.

One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and-pop!-out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar.

He started to look for some food.

On Monday he ate through one apple. But he was still hungry.

He started to look for some food.

On Tuesday he ate through two pears, but he was still hungry.

He started to look for some food.

On Wednesday he ate through three plums, but he was still hungry.

He started to look for some food.

On Thursday he ate through four strawberries, but he was still hungry.

On Friday he ate through five oranges, but he was still hungry.

On Saturday he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice-cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one sausage, one cupcake, and one slice of watermelon.

That night he had a stomachache!

The next day was Sunday again. The caterpillar ate through one nice green leaf, and after that he felt much better.

Now he wasn't hungry any more-and he wasn't a little caterpillar any more. He was a big, fat caterpillar.

He built a small house, called a cocoon, around himself. He stayed inside for more than two weeks. Then he nibbled a hole in the cocoon, pushedhis way out and ...

he was a beautiful butterfly!


Excerpted from The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle Copyright ©1986 by Eric Carle. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Eric Carle is acclaimed and beloved as the creator of brilliantly illustrated and innovatively designed picture books for very young children. His best-known work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has eaten its way into the hearts of literally millions of children all over the world and has been translated into more than 25 languages and sold over twelve million copies. Since the Caterpillar was published in 1969, Eric Carle has illustrated more than sixty books, many best sellers, most of which he also wrote.

Born in Syracuse, New York, in 1929, Eric Carle moved with his parents to Germany when he was six years old; he was educated there, and graduated from the prestigious art school, the Akademie der bildenden Kunste, in Stuttgart. But his dream was always to return to America, the land of his happiest childhood memories. So, in 1952, with a fine portfolio in hand and forty dollars in his pocket, he arrived in New York. Soon he found a job as a graphic designer in the promotion department of The New York Times. Later, he was the art director of an advertising agency for many years.

One day, respected educator and author, Bill Martin Jr, called to ask Carle to illustrate a story he had written. Martin's eye had been caught by a striking picture of a red lobster that Carle had created for an advertisement. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? was the result of their collaboration. It is still a favorite with children everywhere. This was the beginning of Eric Carle's true career. Soon Carle was writing his own stories, too. His first wholly original book was 1,2,3 to the Zoo, followed soon afterward by the celebrated classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Eric Carle's art is distinctive and instantly recognizable. His art work is created in collage technique, using hand-painted papers, which he cuts and layers to form bright and cheerful images. Many of his books have an added dimension - die-cut pages, twinkling lights as in The Very Lonely Firefly, even the lifelike sound of a cricket's song as in The Very Quiet Cricket - giving them a playful quality: a toy that can be read, a book that can be touched. Children also enjoy working in collage and many send him pictures they have made themselves, inspired by his illustrations. He receives hundreds of letters each week from his young admirers. The secret of Eric Carle's books' appeal lies in his intuitive understanding of and respect for children, who sense in him instinctively someone who shares their most cherished thoughts and emotions.

The themes of his stories are usually drawn from his extensive knowledge and love of nature - an interest shared by most small children. Besides being beautiful and entertaining, his books always offer the child the opportunity to learn something about the world around them. It is his concern for children, for their feelings and their inquisitiveness, for their creativity and their intellectual growth that, in addition to his beautiful artwork, makes the reading of his books such a stimulating and lasting experience.

Carle says: "With many of my books I attempt to bridge the gap between the home and school. To me home represents, or should represent; warmth, security, toys, holding hands, being held. School is a strange and new place for a child. Will it be a happy place? There are new people, a teacher, classmates - will they be friendly? I believe the passage from home to school is the second biggest trauma of childhood; the first is, of course, being born. Indeed, in both cases we leave a place of warmth and protection for one that is unknown. The unknown often brings fear with it. In my books I try to counteract this fear, to replace it with a positive message. I believe that children are naturally creative and eager to learn. I want to show them that learning is really both fascinating and fun."

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Group (USA) Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

Brief Biography

Northampton, Massachusetts and the Berkshires
Date of Birth:
June 25, 1929
Place of Birth:
Syracuse, New York
Akademie der bildenden Künste, Stuttgart, 1946-50

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 163 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this for my nephew on his 2nd Birthday and he loves it! However, I would not purchase the small board book next time, it is difficult to turn the small flaps for the fruits in the smaller book, but he absolutly loves it! He counts the fruit, names the foods and finds the caterpillar, it is very interactive for him and he wants to read the 'caplar book' at bedtime all the time!
keljo14 More than 1 year ago
I regret not reading the reviews before I bought this. I thought I was buying the "miniature" version that is available at other retailers, such as Walmart. Not so! This book is so little, you can' hardly read the words. Will be exchanging for a different edition. 
kingsplace4kids More than 1 year ago
I am a Family Child Care Home Provider, and my students age range at the time I read the book were 5 months, 2 years and 3 years old. To start the book is so bright and colorful that we all were delighted just looking at the pictures. My 5 month old just gazed at the pictures and wanted to touch them. Kudos to the author and illustrator Eric Carle for such an engaging book. My book included a free CD of Eric Carle reading the story, that was such a treat for the children and myself. I can use this book for many of my lesson plans, for example for eartth day I use the illustrations of the dirt, trees, fruit and the caterpillar. Another lesson I use all the colors and shapes. I recommend this book to all, it is such a great story full of interactive lessons that engages all with it's colorful educational story line. This is truly one of the classics, I am happy that I added it to my classroom library.
Jen_in_Kentucky More than 1 year ago
What fun to buy my son the book that had been my favorite as a child! He enjoys sticking his fingers in the little holes, although the smaller version of the book only allows small fingers in there. Still a fun book for kids and adults alike. Good pictures, lots of colors, and not too many words.
MickeyMouse More than 1 year ago
This book is a great book to get kids started in reading.
It shows a very simple beginning, simple content, and a simple
ending. Also Eric Carle is a world famous children's illustrator.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Before actually having my daughter, now 14 mo., my husband got me a copy of the book signed by the author because he knew how much I loved it. It was one of the best presents he ever got me. Now being a mom, I can't wait to share it with my daughter. Her favorite book so far is Brown bear, brown bear
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book, and so does my 8-month old son. In addition to the clever format (with holes for the caterpillar - or tiny fingers), the book has mini-lessons embedded throughout - such as counting, days of the week, different fruits, not to mention a whole slew of info about caterpillars: hatched from an egg, builds cocoon, becomes butterfly...all this in a colorful, easy-to-read, rhyming baby book! I know we will enjoy this book into toddlerhood and beyond!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the storyline but this particular book is too small for babies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has very bright illustrations and is a great book for children! It teaches counting to children and I love that because it does it in a fun way for children. With this book you can discuss the process of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly and how that happens. If you are a teacher this would be a great book for a science lesson because i'ts fun but informative.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As we read this book in Elementary school, I remember the teacher pointing out the different colors, numbers, patterns, etc. This book is a classic that children will remember for the rest of their lives. It's funny, exciting, and creative. The holes in the pages make the book stand out and kids will love how the caterpillar travels throughout the book.
WMV More than 1 year ago
This is a great book that my children enjoyed for many years. I purchased this as a gift and am glad I had it sent to me instead of my friend's child. It is tiny. Good Quality but the actual size should be made more clear in the description.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for my grand niece who is 1 and a half. Her parents read to her every day and are already teaching her how to handle books gently. I wanted to see how she would handle a small book that she can hold in her little hands. It is hard for her to turn the pages. However, the pages that start out narrow, and gradually become wider are easy for her to turn. She holds the book while her Dad reads it. She will lay it down and turn the page, saying "Yum, Yum". So far, she is very gentle with the book, and wants it read to her over and over.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this! This has been one of my favorite books since I was little and I still enjoy it today. Great introductory into teaching about nutrition and the food pyramid. Could also do a lesson on caterpillars and their life cycle.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
very poor
alliAG More than 1 year ago
Please know that even though this is a small book for tiny hands, the print is miniscule. It would be difficult for any child to read, considering it is a children's book. The print is so terribly small, that there is no way to read this book and show the pages to your little one. This is good for a toddler to learn to turn the pages. The back of the book will keep tiny fingers intrigued, until it rips.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one of my favorites growing up, and now it's one of my kids favorites. Enough said. :-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eric Carle has always been my favorite children's author. I taught Pre-K and Kindergarten for over 30 years. I had most of his books in my collection. I love that he illustrates his books...always with bright colors. His "themes" are always timely and relate to adults as well as children. I love giving Eric Carle books to new parents. In my opinion, reading is the most important subject in a young child's life. This book is his "classic." Enjoy!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Colorful pictures with a fun tale of the caterpillars adventures.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite and that it was very bright and colorful with good pictures. Or so I remembered. Anyway, a good children's book.
Tunguz More than 1 year ago
We are huge fans of Eric Carle and all of his works. This board book is a welcome addition to our growing collection. The illustrations are simple and artistic at the same time, as is the text. Unlike all of the other Carle books we've owned so far, this one actually has a single linear narrative that spans the entire book. It is also written entirely in prose, so some people who enjoyed his rhyming books might be a bit disappointed. This book also features a fun and unusual formatting - several pages vary in length, and they feature the small holes through which the caterpillar has presumably burrowed. This is innovative, but sometimes it can make it tricky for the small hands to turn those pages - our toddler is still getting used to this. However, the small annoyances are nothing compared to all the fun that we all get out of this beautiful little board book. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, but not as durable for little kids. Great story overall. Wish it was made in the USA, not China.