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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 13 April 2005
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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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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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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on 29 June 2004
I'm now in my thirties but I still remember my mom taking me to the local library. For young children, the library had a low display area including seats which was full of over-sized books. The first book I always looked for was the Hungery Caterpillar. I used to put my finger through the holes and absolutely love the simple but cyclical story and the vivid pictures. I'm now a Dad and this is the first book I will buy my daughter - a true classic!
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on 17 January 2004
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a true childrens classic.The story appeals to the very young with its bright inviting pictures,older children with its fun repetitive narration which they love to join in and new readers whose familiarilty with the story can boost their confidence embarking on an exciting world of books. As a Nursery Nurse,I feel this giant board format will be an ideal gift for a childrens Nursery which I visit in the West Indies.The chidren will be able to interact with telling of the story with the toy caterpillar,and the book will withstand generations of loving.I know it will become a firm favourite instantly and hope I can read it to them first to share the magic !!
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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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on 25 February 2006
An excellent book, my little girl has enjoyed this right upto 2 and a half years old.
Helps with numbers, days of the week, colours and even the life cycle of caterpillars.
A fun book, an enjoyable book and even an educational book. A must-have for all toddlers and babies.
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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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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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on 7 June 2005
this is the ultimate book for any young growing child. I heard this book when I was a kid and now I am doing the same to my own child, thats how much of a classic it is. this comes with a soft toy of a catterpillar which can weave in and out of the book to symbolise him eating an apple. This was a great buy and you have days and days of enjoyment ahead
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