Word of the Month (there are two this time!)

metamorphosis: a change in physical appearance

exoskeleton: the external skeleton that supports and protects an animal's body

(If you come by the library and can use one of these words correctly in a sentence, you can earn a bookmark!)

Author Spotlight on . . . Eric Carle!

Eric Carle was born in New York in 1929, but moved to Germany when he was six and was raised there. His background is in graphic design, but since the late 1960's when I illustrated Bill Martin Jr's Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, he has been creating books for children. His best-known work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has eaten its way into the hearts of literally millions of children all over the world and has been translated into more than 50 languages and sold over 33 million copies. Since the Caterpillar was published in 1969, Eric Carle has illustrated more than seventy books, many best sellers, most of which he also wrote, and more than 110 million copies of his books have sold around the world. His illustrations are collages made with his own hand-painted tissue papers, a technique many children have replicated and enjoyed in their classrooms and at home. With his wife Barbara, he is also the cofounder of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusettes. You can get to know Eric Carle more by clicking here and by visiting his blog ( Want to see him create a 45th Anniversary collage? Scroll down and be sure to click on the link after the reading of his book.
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Click here to hear and watch Eric Carle read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and then click here to watch him create the Very Hungry Caterpillar's 45th Anniversary Collage. Yes, the Very Hungry Caterpillar celebrates 45 years this year. Wow!
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Just found out a friend of ours met Eric Carle a few years ago! Here's Reagan (below) with Mr. Carle. Wow!

He even signed her picture and dress. How cool! What a great day that must have been. Thanks for allowing me to share your awesome moment, Reagan!
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Painted Lady Butterfly Fun Facts

How long is the Painted Lady Butterfly life cycle?

Approximately 3 weeks. Females lay eggs 5 -7 days after emerging from the chrysalis. The eggs hatch after 3 days. Caterpillars emerge from the eggs and eat for 10 - 12 days before forming the chrysalides. Adult butterflies emerge from the chrysalides in 7 - 10 days.

What is the webbing?

The webbing is very normal. They spin the webbing in nature to wrap a leaf around them so predators will not see them. It also helps them to walk on the side of the cup. They can chew out of it when they want to.

What is a group of butterflies called?

Groups of butterflies are known as a "swarm", "rabble", "kaleidoscope" or "flutter" of butterflies.

What does the word "larva" mean?

"Larva" is another word for "caterpillar."

What is happening inside the chrysalis?

The caterpillar parts are liquefying and re-arranging to become the cells, tissues and organs of the butterfly. In a few days, you will be able to see the outline of the wings of the butterfly beneath the pupal shell!

What is the red liquid I see as my butterflies emerge?

Your butterflies will expel a red liquid called meconium. This is the leftover part of the caterpillar that was not needed to make the butterfly. This is stored in the intestine of the butterfly and expelled after the butterfly emerges.

The Museum of Natural History in Florida has an excellent question and answer page on their website. Click here to learn some great information about butterflies. There you will learn the difference between a cocoon and a chrysalis, the sizes of the biggest and smallest butterfly and so much more!

A caterpillar makes a chrysalis

I invite you to click on the buttons below to watch a Monarch and a Painted Lady wrap themselves in a chrysalis, the protective coating that is home to the caterpillar as it transforms into a butterfly. Then, keep clicking to watch them emerge from their chrysalis and become beautiful butterflies! It's an amazing process to witness. Enjoy!

When the Monarch and Painted Lady are in the larval or caterpillar stage, they are very big eaters. Once they have grown completely, they find a safe place and hang upside down. A silk thread comes out of a hole just below the caterpillar’s mouth (called a spinneret) and the caterpillar spins a silk pad that it will hang from. In roughly 24 hours, the top layer of the caterpillar’s skin splits and underneath is the chrysalis, which hardens and becomes golden in color. They stay in this protected coating for 7 to 10 days before emerging as a beautiful butterfly.

Click here to watch our chrysalis do the Harlem Shake!

(My son suggested I use the Harlem Shake song, but I couldn't make it work.) It is a natural instinct for the chrysalis to shake if it thinks a predator is near. In this video, a caterpillar was crawling around the chrysalis. Watch it shake (A LOT)!

1A - Watch a Painted Lady caterpillar make a chrysalis

This is the same type of caterpillar/butterfly we observed at Camp Read Smore as we prepared for our Author Spotlight on Eric Carle.

1B - Watch a Painted Lady form a chrysalis (in nature)

Notice the beauty and amazing things happening around you! This chrysalis was found outside someone's house in Japan. They filmed it so we could watch the butterfly emerge. Always look around you! Maybe you'll find one some day to watch, too!

2B - Watch Monarch emerge from chrysalis (Must watch!)

I'm sure you will want to clap at the end just like our kindergarteners did!

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Hooray for Eric Carle Day!

Our "very hungry caterpillars" were very eager to celebrate Eric Carle Day, also known as Very Hungry Caterpillar Day (celebrated each year on the first day of spring). Each class was able to witness the amazing metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly happen before their very eyes as we observed the changes each week. Since our caterpillars arrived quicker than anticipated, we didn't make it to the real Eric Carle Day, but instead celebrated on our own last week by releasing them with each grade level. Two lucky students had the added treat of having a butterfly land on them for a short while before flying free. It was a beautiful experience.
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The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

Click here to watch and listen to this story.