Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Picture Book: Ten Little Caterpillars (by Bill Martin Jr.)

Spring has sprung in most parts of the country!  My state barely had a winter this year (but I am not complaining).   The weather has been perfect this week—warm, sunny, cool breeze.  Today, we enjoyed an afternoon in the park and a visit to our favorite frozen yogurt place.  With all this warm weather, caterpillars will be emerging and soon after, beautiful butterflies.   

Ten Little Caterpillars (by Bill Martin Jr.) is a celebration of spring and new life.   One little caterpillar crawls up the stem of a wild rose bush.   Next, a second caterpillar wriggles up some flowers in the garden.  Then, a third little one climbs a cabbage head.  The narrative continues until the number 10 is reached.   The tenth caterpillar is seen transformed into a chrysalis and emerging as a tiger swallowtail butterfly.  The final pages revisit each caterpillar.  Brief information is offered on their feeding habits and the type of butterfly or moth they transform into is illustrated. 

The pictures (by Lois Ehlert) are watercolor collages against a white background to focus on the flowers, the vegetation, and most importantly, the caterpillars.   The illustrations have remarkable texture and vibrant colors.  Occasionally, creatures commonly in the habitats are included like ants, spiders, frogs, birds, and beetles.    Each item in the pictures is labeled to build vocabulary and sight word recognition. 

Ten Little Caterpillars is ideal for youngsters 2-6.    It is the perfect springtime read! 

Teaching Opportunities:
  • Spring:  discuss spring activities outside
  • Ordinal numbers:  practice the concept of first, second, third, and so forth
  • Counting: count the caterpillars as well as items on the page, like leaves, ladybugs, and flowers
  • Life Cycles:  learn about the life cycle of the caterpillar and other creatures
  • Verbs:  for younger children, point out the strong verbs used (wriggled, crawled, climbed, sailed) and act them out; for older students, introduced them as the parts of speech that shows action and brainstorm other verbs
  • Science:  distinguish between predators and prey; teach what preys on butterflies (ants, birds, toads, dragon flies) and caterpillars (birds, wasps, small mammals, lizards) as well as point them out in the pictures
This post is linked up with Read Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word


  1. This looks like a really cute book. I'll be adding it to my list for spring or summer!


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