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The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Written & illustrated by Eric Carle
Published by Philomel
6.25 / 7.0
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Goodreads Rating - 4.3 / 5.0
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What's This Book About

Publisher Summary

Follows the progress of a hungry little caterpillar as he eats his way through a varied and very large quantity of food until, full at last, he forms a cocoon around himself and goes to sleep. Die-cut pages illustrate what the caterpillar ate on successive days.

What Kind of Book is The Very Hungry Caterpillar

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Quotes from This Book

  • “In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf.”
  • “On Monday he ate through one apple…”

Book Lists That Include The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Book Topics › caterpillars
Children's Books About Caterpillars
Book Topics › Oxford
Children's Books About Oxford
Book Topics › bugs and insects
Great Children's Books About Bugs
Book Topics › Age newborn
Children's Books About Age Newborn
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Who Wrote The Very Hungry Caterpillar

author & illustrator
Eric Carle

Eric Carle is acclaimed and beloved as the creator of brilliantly illustrated and innovatively designed picture books for very young children. He is best known for The Very Hungry Caterpillar, From Head to Toe, and The Grouchy Ladybug. Eric Carle has illustrated more than seventy books, many bestsellers, most of which he also wrote. He has two grown-up children, a son and a daughter, and divides his time between the Florida Keys and the hills of North Carolina. Mr. Carle opened the celebrated Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Northampton, MA, to feature both his work and that of other esteemed children’s book artists.

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What Has Eric Carle Said About This Book

  • What is The Very Hungry Caterpillar about?

    “I think it is a book of hope. Children need hope. You, little insignificant caterpillar, can grow up into a beautiful butterfly and fly into the world with your talent. Will I ever be able to do that? Yes, you will. I think that is the appeal of that book.”
  • Where did you get the idea for The Very Hungry Caterpillar?

    “I wasn’t thinking of books or anything like that. I didn’t have anything to do, so I took a stack of paper and a hole-punch and I playfully punched holes … then I looked at them. Straight away I thought of a book worm.”

    “I created a story called A Week with Willi the Worm. Then my editor suggested a caterpillar instead and I said ‘Butterfly!’ That’s how it began.”,
  • Were you surprised by the popularity The Very Hungry Caterpillar gained?

    “It was bread and butter to me” he says, “It paid my rent. I truly didn’t think of lasting success or anything like that. I mean, it’s just a book.”

Trivia to Know About This Book

  • How many copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar have been sold?

    Around 50 million copies have been sold. On average, someone in the world purchases a copy every 30 seconds.
  • Which President of the United States loved to read this book when visiting schools?

    Former President George W. Bush would even have his advance team clear books teachers set out for him so he could read The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
  • When was The Very Hungry Caterpillar first published?

    March 20, 1969 by World Publishing Company.
  • How many languages has The Very Hungry Caterpillar been translated into?

  • Has The Very Hungry Caterpillar been adapted into other media?

    A television show of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, as well as other stories by Carle, was released in 1993. Though Carle did describe the show as “awful.”

    A video-game adaption was released in 2010 and focused on language skills (rather than counting, like the book).

    There are also a few different The Very Hungry Caterpillar song adaptations, one from Learning Station and one from Mr. Teach on YouTube.

What Do Critics Say About This Book

  • “The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of the pillars of children’s culture,” says Ted Dewan. “It’s almost like talking about how great the Beatles were. It’s beyond reproach.”

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  • “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…”

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  • Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar deserves its reputation as a much-loved classic. Full of bright and imaginative illustrations and ingenious cut-out details, it charts the progress of a very hungry caterpillar as he eats his way through the week.

    The pictures readily engage children’s attention and involve them in the reading process, while helping them learn about numbers, days of the week and time. This is a fantastic book for pre-school children, who are sure to demand it time and time again.

    Read the full review

Did This Book Win Any Awards

You bet it did. Check them out below!

What day did the caterpillar eat oranges?
  1. Tuesday
  2. Friday
  3. Sunday
  4. Thursday
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Discover All the Books in the The Very Hungry Caterpillar Series

The Series

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More Books by Eric Carle

Book Details

Publication Date:
October 15, 1981
Original Publication Date:
June 3, 1969
Word Count:
Library of Congress Number (LCCN):
WorldCat Number (OCLC):
Lexile® Level:
Scholastic Level:
ATOS® Book Level:
Accelerated Reader® Points:
Accelerated Reader Quiz:
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