“In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf.” So begins Eric Carle’s modern classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. More than 12 million copies of this book have been sold in its original, full-sized edition, and the beloved tale of science and gluttony has been translated into 20 languages. Despite its diminished state, the book is complete in every detail, following the ravenous caterpillar’s path as he eats his way through one apple (and the pages of the book itself) on Monday, two pears on Tuesday, three plums on Wednesday, and so on, through cherry pie and sausage–until he is really fat and has a stomachache. And no doubt you know what happens next! Kids love butterfly metamorphosis stories, and this popular favorite teaches counting and the days of the week, too. A fun gift package for caterpillar fans. –Karin Snelson
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is actually a retelling of the author’s first born child’s first fib about where his father’s dinner had disappeared. Mr. Carle’s wife had prepared it earlier that morning because he had meetings all evening long. But when he went to the fridge, the lunch had disappeared. He turned to see his son peering around the corner.
The boy tried to fee as soon as his father saw him, but had no luck. Mr. Carle cornered him, and asked where the dinner had gone.
“A caterpillar ate it!” Was his emphatic response.
Yes the caterpillar had eaten the cherry pie, sausages, and even the vegetables, but the confession didn’t stop then, this caterpillar had been snitching food for over a week. It was just so hungry all of the time.
Mr. Carle asked if his son wasn’t sure that the caterpillar was really a small human, but the boy walked him to the backyard to show him a cocoon hanging from a tree branch.
“This meal was his last, he’s all done now!” His son replied.
Mr. Carle was skeptical, and made sure to have his wife observe how much dinner his son ate before leaving.
Sure enough, when he got home his wife reported that their child had no appetite, and she had to practically force the food down his throat.
“He kept on going on about caterpillars and lying and promising to never let anyone steal food. It was so strange!”
Mr. Carle laughed, and even though it was very late, sat down and began writing a list of missing food.