Monday, January 29, 2007

Signs of Spring: A Companion Book for The Very Hungry Caterpillar

If you are an early childhood teacher or parent introducing the concept of metamorphosis, Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar is still your first choice to present the idea of egg-to-caterpillar-to-chrysalis-to butterfly.

Here's a new book which is the perfect followup to that classic: it's titled The Furry Caterpillar, part of the Bamboo and Friends series, by Felicia Law. In this book a tubby bird named Beak and a panda named Bamboo argue over ownership of an egg Beak claims is his breakfast. Bamboo insists that the egg, now a long, furry object, is a pillowy caterpillar, whereupon Beak insists that even if it is a caterpillar, it's still his breakfast. "Pillows don't hatch from eggs," says Bamboo. "And you can't eat it. It's soft and tickly. And it's mine!" Their friend Velvet points out that the pillow is eating and growing fatter and fatter, splitting its skin daily. "My pillow got even bigger," says Bamboo. "So did my breakfast," says Beak. When the caterpillar forms its chrysalis, Bamboo offers the "hard pillow" to Beak, who deems it now too tough to eat. When the butterfly finally emerges, she says "I'm off to lay an egg!" With some resignation, Velvet observes, "Oh, dear! It's going to start all over again!" (And that, boys and girls, is why it's called a life cycle)

The illustrations by Clair Philpott, et al, are colorful closeups of the four characters, just right for ages 3-5. The pages are glossed with nature facts bracketed by leaves, and an appendix provides "Fun Facts" about butterflies and moths and a website for young science students to visit.

These books are good stand-alone books, but are better together for mutually reinforcing the idea of the life cycle to the story circle.

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  • This is such a great blog! You have a few posts lately about science. I was wondering if you would be interested in reviewing our "science faction" book series called Cogno: The Legends. Teachers have told us that they are great because they appeal to the reluctant middle school readers. Please email me and I can give you more information. Thank you! Jennie - kretchmar(at)cogno(dot)com

    By Blogger Jennie, at 9:19 AM  

  • Dear Jennie,
    Sure. I can at least give your books a plug. I had another comment requesting that I mention a mystery series only available online, so I could put the two together for whomever is interested in those areas of literature. Reluctant middle school readers is a big group, so it's good to find something for them. Will email you soon.

    Thanks for the kind comment. This blogging is lonely business, so it's good to know someone is out there reading what I write!


    By Blogger GTC, at 10:06 AM  

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