Babies First Board Book: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Weekly Trip to the Library

Be the Best Nanny Newsletter asks nannies and au pairs to read more to their charges as their new year’s resolution. Click here to see why. Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers learn to love reading when they equate it with loving attention and a happy time of sharing. The best place to start with young children is with board books since they enjoy being able to handle books themselves.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle By Elizabeth Kennedy, Guide

What makes a children’s book so popular that by 2009, the 40th anniversary of its publication, more than 29 million copies have been sold and it’s been translated into more than 47 languages? In the case of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, it’s the combination of wonderful illustrations, an entertaining story, and a unique book design. Carle’s illustrations are created with collage techniques. He uses hand-painted papers, which he cuts, layers, and shapes to create his colorful artwork. The pages of the book vary in size, which is part of the fun.

The story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a simple one that emphasizes numbers and days of the week. The kids can touch and fell this book while learning how to count. The caterpillar is not only very hungry, but he also has unusual tastes in food, ones that delight children. After popping out of an egg on Sunday, the very hungry caterpillar eats holes through the book’s pages as he eats his way through a variety of foods, beginning with one apple on Monday and two pears on Tuesday and ending with five oranges on Friday and 10 different foods on Saturday (chocolate cake, ice cream, a pickle, Swiss cheese, salami, a lollipop, cherry pie, sausage, a cupcake, and watermelon).

Not surprisingly, the very hungry caterpillar ends up with a stomach ache. Fortunately, a serving of one green leaf helps. The now very fat caterpillar builds a cocoon. After staying in it for two weeks, he nibbles a hole in the cocoon and emerges a beautiful butterfly. For an entertaining explanation of why his caterpillar comes out of a cocoon rather than a chrysalis, see Eric Carle’s Web site.

Eric Carle’s colorful collage illustrations and the book’s design add immensely to the book’s appeal. Every page has a hole in it where the caterpillar eats through the food. The pages for the first five days are different sizes, corresponding with the number of pieces of food the caterpillar eats. The page for the day the caterpillar eats one apple is very small, a little bigger for the day it eats two pears, and full size for the day it eats five oranges.

Stop by tomorrow for more The Very Hungry Caterpillar products. You can buy your own copy below:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar


  1. I like this book but love Pat the Bunny more. I find touch and feel books are great first books!

  2. Yep it's fun to read books to infants and toddlers. They don't have to know how to read, you don't even have to know how to read, easy to follow and enjoy together!Nanny Kammy

  3. There is a monster at the end of this book. Brandi Hylton

  4. very good!

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