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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
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127 of 134 people found the following review helpful
There can be few books for children that work on so many levels, and are so completely satisfying. I have been a children's librarian for over 30 years, and I can't think of anything to surpass it. The very simple story is just that the caterpillar eats his way through a variety of foods, becoming bigger all the time, until he turnes into a butterfly. The artwork is glorious, in Eric Carle's typical tissue-paper collage, with wonderful jewel-like colours. He has made many picture books, but this one is definitely the best. The pages vary in size, getting gradually larger with the caterpillar, and have holes in to show him chomping his way through the leaves, fruit, chocolate cake and ice cream, so it is interesting and tactile for little ones. It introduces counting (because he eats one plum, two oranges, three pieces of melon, etc), days of the week (one foodstuff per day!) and thus the passage of time, growth and change, the biology of caterpillars and butterflies, and, above all, it's great FUN!! My all-time favourite children's book is "Where the wild things are", but this would run it a close second.
There is no better book for under 7's. Buy it NOW, but buy the proper book, as opposed to the board book, or any other "messed-about version!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2014
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle is one of the all-time classics for young readers that besides being infinitely entertaining teach children about time, numbers and week days.

In center of the story is one very hungry caterpillar that will eat his way through the different week days together with the book pages. And while the week is passing our hungry hero will taste different food - ice cream, chocolate, fruit and others. In the end, the caterpillar will eventually overload himself with food and stomach ache but problem will be solved with green leaf...

Eric Carle book is beautifully written book for children that besides offering lot of fun provides a great educational value - young children reading this book will teach them time, days of the week and counting numbers, they'll learn various types of food and most important learn that different type of food is good for people to feel good and be healthy. Today when we are feeding ourselves in usually unhealthy way, book message that fruits and vegetables should be eaten regularly is more than welcome for teaching younger generations.

Together with great and educating text book immediately will win your hearts due to its appearance and beautiful illustrations that were made with using cut and layered collages and then overprinted with ink, crayon, and tempura. Therefore when reader takes this book immediately will realize that this picture book is something different compared to the other releases due to heavier paper than usual.

Altogether, if by chance you have not heard of this timeless classic or have misplaced somewhere in the meantime copy from your childhood, it's the book with which each child will spend a lot of time and immensely enjoy, while learning along the way.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 2004
I remember this book as a child and it was good fun then counting and naming all the foods and looking through the holes in the pages to see what was coming next. It was a delight to share it with my toddler and to see her delight as we turned the pages and named and counted the different foods.
It's a favourite of hers now and we can read it over and over again with the same delight as the first time.
A must have for a small children.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2011
Sturdy cardboard slip-cased edition with cut-out front effect, showing the CD.

2008/PUFFIN BOOKS

The CD is safely housed in the back cover of the hardback version of the book, which measures c 29.75 cm x 21.5 cm, inside.
The book has thick shiny pages, colourfully illustrated throughout.

Overall, the combined outfit measures around 30 cm x 22.25 cm x 1.25 cm.

From the back cover of the slip-case:

'One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and - pop! - out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar.
So begins the journey of Eric Carle's most famous character, from little egg to beautiful butterfly. With its die-cut pages and vivid collage illustrations, this is a richly satisfying book for children.

Every child should have a copy - Daily telegraph

This bestselling story has been brilliantly adapted for audio CD.
It is read by Eric Carle himself and there are two tracks:

1. Straight reading with music.
2. Read-along version with a special sound to indicate when to turn the page.

* Read by Eric Carle.
* Music by Christian Vaughan.
* Produced by Mellie Buse.'

CD running time approximately 7 minutes.

Read by the American author, and a little 'ting' indicates the time to turn the page on the second reading.

ooOoo

Also available, on special offer (at the time of writing):

Small-sized Book & Toy Set
DVD
Finger Puppet Book
review image review image review image review image
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2013
I usually don't write reviews but I couldn't help it because I'm so thankful to this CD!

I ordered this CD from Japan hoping it would help my son to learn English.
At first, I was a little bit disappointed as it contained more music than speech.
But as I listened to it over and over, I realized how tasteful the music was.
Of all the CDs I bought for my son, this is the only one so far I never got tired of.

I could see it had a soothing effect on my baby, so I started using it as his bedtime music.
He has been listening to this CD every evening for over a year ever since he was born.
I also play it on the go on my iphone when he has a tantrum.

Of course it's not just the music but the stories are good, as you probably know.
I like the way the narrators whisper the stories along with the quiet flow of music.

I have bought the books of all the stories contained in this CD.
My son has started enjoying the pictures in the books recently.
I hope one day he will figure out by himself that these pictures match the sound he has been listening to.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 28 January 2008
In a nutshell, it is about a newly hatched, tiny caterpillar who munches his way through a variety of foods, becoming bigger and bigger, until he isn't hungry anymore and is a big, fat caterpillar (with stomachache)...then becomes a beautiful butterfly!

From the back cover:

'A much-loved classic, 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' has won over millions of readers with its vivid and colourful collage illustrations and its deceptively simple, hopeful story.
With its die-cut pages and finger-sized holes to explore, this is a richly satisfying book for children.'

Large paperback format, with 28 thick quality pages, in double-page spread format.
A line of bold, easy-to-follow text on each page, repetitive in places to help develop recognition skills and promote 'joining in' opportunities.
Colourful illustrations throughout, with some pages cut smaller, and complete with holes to emphasise the hunger!

The book offers educational value across a wide age span, including:

* days of the week
* various fruits & foods (e.g. salami, pickle, cherry pie)
* basic counting

Tiny fingers can pop through the holes the caterpillar makes as he eats his way to the next level, and there are often giggles when some spot the caterpillar emerging as they turn over the page!
And....for older readers, a lesson in basic biology:

from egg to tiny caterpillar - to big, fat caterpillar - to cocoon - to butterfly!

Example of text:

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

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

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

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

On Saturday, he eats so much he has a stomachache....but puts it right on Sunday, when he only nibbles through a nice green leaf!
Then he builds a cocoon and stays inside for over two weeks.............and, then, an amazing thing happens!
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97 of 108 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2000
I was disappointed at the small size of the board book - even tiny fingers find it hard to poke through the holes munched by the caterpillar. The little toy is cute, I had thought that he would be able to 'eat his way through the holes in the pages', but as stated above the book is too small. Having said that , The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a classic enjoyed by my children 20 years ago and still popular today.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2005
You know those books that stay in your memory from when you were a child, well i can promise you that this would be one of them. Im 18 now and can remember reading it over and over and would stil enjoy reading it today. Its a simple yet brilliant childrens book. The illustrations are beautiful and can talk about them for hours. I would say this is one of the best childrens books of the century as it includes comic and amusing pictures for all ages to enjoy, "the hungry caterpilar" would definitely be read more than once. Although it wouldn't appear as a modern day book, children today would still love it as much as i did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 September 2010
This was bought for my 2 year old grandson's birthday at the request of his Mum as she (and me!) had always loved the story. We thought being able to push the caterpillar through the holes would appeal to him but it is very hard for chubby little fingers to do that as the holes are slightly too small and he soon gave up. The caterpillar itself was a huge success - immediately used as a phone - just the right shape! The story itself is still great but I would probably buy the smaller board version another time ( and a caterpillar toy). Would be great for an older pre-school child or Playgroup but just too fiddly/ hard for little ones to put the caterpillar through the holes.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 20 May 2015
Madame Bovary. The Satanic Verses. The Grapes of Wrath. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. These are the most controversial texts of the modern era. Each has challenged its audience. Some have sparked violence. Some have brought death.

And yet, when I teach these to my undergraduates, it is always the Very Hungry Caterpillar that sparks the most discussion. Why, they ask, is an innocent children's book on an undergraduate English course? Why, indeed. The Very Hungry Caterpillar isn't a book, it is a challenge, and that is why I teach it. It is a challenge to our sensibilities, to our false bourgeois liberalism.

Ultimately, this work forces us to ask ourselves where we draw the line. What is too graphic for our paltry sexual sensibilities, and can we keep reading when we reach that point? Described by one critic as 'a celebration of homoerotic excess', The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a wriggling mess of kink, excess and subversion. And it is a masterpiece for it.

Before we delve into the book itself, there is a question you must come to terms with: can the profound and the profane live side by side in human sexuality? Are they, as Carle wants us to believe, actually two sides of the same coin? If these questions challenge you, then I urge you not to buy this book. The Very Hungry Caterpillar pushes us; it pushes usto keep reading past hedonism, past revulsion, until we reach a kind of Sublime in which the pure kinky madness of the caterpillar is integrated into our own consciousness.

To understand the delicious, filthy mess that is The Very Hungry Caterpillar, we first have to understand the protagonist, known only as The Caterpillar.

He is born alone in the world. He inhabits a body he does not understand. He is overwhelmed by the urge to consume. He is an Adam with no Eve. Motherless, borne of an unprotected egg, he has been abandoned by the feminine. But does The Caterpillar care? No. He does not. He only hungers.

It is no surprise that the first thing he consumes is an apple - a clear Edenic image. In the absence of Eve, the Caterpillar has neither the choice nor the desire to watch her eat first. No. He wants to eat all of that apple, and he wants to eat alone. While we watch.

Carle makes no apologies for this crudeness, immediately confronting us with a searingly testicular image: two pears. The caterpillar tucks into these with relish. But still he searches for more to gobble. A slew of phallic imagery follows; a lollipop, a pickle, and perhaps most shocking, a sausage. We watch in horror, and perhaps excitement, as he gobbles sausage in the course of a single page. But still he hungers. And we ask ourselves; how much libido can one Caterpillar have? Why does it surpass my own, and why does it excite me so?

And then the green leaf. What else can this be, but the green leaf covering Adam's genitals? This final act of feasting is the most spectacular of all. Carle smashes our boundaries and at last, at long last Adam is rendered naked, vulnerable, and in this final act of deconstruction the Caterpillar is free. His transformation is swift, taking only two pages. Cocooning himself in the shell of his former life, he quite literally 'comes out', transforming into a fabulous butterfly.

Carle expertly crafts this transformation to show us that the profane is the profound, that wild and open homosexuality is as sacred and transformative as the dyadic heterosexual unions we see as 'safe' and 'normal'. Often, late at night, I wonder what that butterfly is getting up to. I shiver at the thought. Maybe I don't want to know.

I digress. Of course I do; this is what The Very Hungry Caterpillar does. It throws us into a pot of kinky confusion, where up is down and down is sausage. If you can handle that, read this book. First readers should begin with the regular 2D version of the work, and work their way up to the graphic pop-up version, which is only appropriate for experienced connoisseurs of kink fiction.
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