The Very Hungry Caterpillar

2009 Marked the 40th Anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle.  The holes punched in the pages (where the caterpillar has eaten) command the attention of children who are taught to treat books with respect and certainly NOT punch holes in the pages. Millions of Americans are familiar with this story which is very popular in schools.

There are a number of children’s books that provide important information about insects. Almost everyone educated in American schools can correctly answer that a butterfly starts life as a caterpillar. In my introductory college class for non-science students lack a lot of basic knowledge about insects and evolution. However, they can all describe the process of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly.

However, this is not true everywhere. In some cultures, there is no common knowledge about insects and their life history. The lack of information makes pest management and pest control more difficult for programs designed to solve local pest problems. The role of popular songs, stories and children’s literature should not be overlooked as an important educational tool.

Here is a video of Eric Carle talking about his book:

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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5 Responses to The Very Hungry Caterpillar

  1. Samar says:

    I remember being a child and reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. The colorful pages and cleverly written story always seemed to enertain me when I was younger. Now looking back on the story with a basic understanding of metamorphosis, I agree 100 percent with Mr. Neal, children books, songs, etc shouldn’t be overlooked as a great tool for education.

  2. Robert Strawsburg says:

    All of his books basically set my impressions of insects in stone. I remembering reading not only the Very Hungry Caterpillar but also the Very Quiet Cricket and The Very Busy Spider. I still picture his style of art as the basis for caterpillars to this day.

  3. Pingback: The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eats Healthy | Living With Insects Blog

  4. Pingback: Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Caterpillar Insults | Living With Insects Blog

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