The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle

POINTS: 4 out of 10.

Bechdel: 0 points
Variety of characters: 0 points
Good story: 2 points. Does anyone not love this book?
Discretionary ideological points: 2 point

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is another great example of a book that scores low, but it is still awesome. It can’t pass Bechdel or have diversity because it is literally just one character, and that character is a caterpillar. (And not a (very) anthropomorphised character either – it’s a pretty caterpillary one.)

I’ve given it 2 discretionary points because there are a great number of things I love about this book. I love the fact that binging on junk food makes him feel ill (being, as I am, a bit of an advocate for eating good food, but also fond of junk food in moderation). I am fond of the caterpillar to beautiful butterfly transformation, because I think it’s a great metaphor for kids – how you can’t always tell how someone is going to turn out at first glance.

It has great interactive opportunities for reading with children – the little holes through the fruit, the counting, the various kinds of fruit. It’s a great example of a really simple concept done spot on right. Carle knows his stuff, man. 🙂

I also have a bit of a softness for animals in children’s books that act like animals. There are hundreds of kids books where animals live in houses and wear pants and chitchat to each other, and many of them are great stories. But I do love it when animals in kids’ books behave to their nature. This little caterpillar is perhaps not entirely biologically accurate (given its diet), but it’s a lot closer than many other kids’ animal books.

So. Doesn’t score particularly high by the metric established here, but is a totally wonderful book nonetheless. A good reminder that every metric is flawed and measuring a particular thing. 😉

What do you think? Are you as much of a fan as I am? How do you feel about animal books?

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