Eric Carle Children's Books

Lyn Smarr

Eric Carle currently is 85 years old and is American writer and illustrator. He is the most famous for the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This book has been translated into more than 58 languages and sold more than 38 million copies. He won the Biennial Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for his career contributions to Children's Literature in 2003. His books are easily recognizable. For all of his books he uses hand-painted papers, which he cuts and layers to from bright and colorful pictures. Most of his books are centered around his love for nature, just like young children often have.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

This is a fiction book all about the life of a caterpillar. The caterpillar starts out as an egg on a leaf and eventually turns into a butterfly. The caterpillar was very hungry, so he ate through lots of different fruits but was still hungry. He even started to eat junk food things like cake and salami until he turned into one big caterpillar. He then built a cacoon around himself, which he lived in for two weeks. When he decided to come out of his cacoon he was a beautiful butterfly. I really like this book because it shows the hole he bit through in each of the foods he ate so the children can visually see this. As the book goes on you it shows pictures of each thing he ate so students can see the increase in food.

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This is a sock puppet that is supposed to represent the very hungry caterpillar. As I read through the book and the caterpillar ate more things, I would add these foods to my wrist. This is a great way to keep the children engaged in the book. I would do this in a kindergarten or first grade classroom.

The Tiny Seed

This book is all about the life of a seed. It is autumn and the seeds start out flying through the air. One gets too close to the sun and burns, another land on a mountain which is too cold to grow. Another fell into the ocean and was eaten by a fish. It goes on with different scenarios of the seed not growing. Finally in the winter they are on the ground and get covered by snow. When spring comes around and it starts to rain, the flowers also start to grow. The story then goes on to show how flowers can also get messed up and killed. When summer comes around the flower is very big and butterflies and bees come and visit the flowers. Then once autumn comes back around, the flowers die and the seeds go on their journey again. This book shows the real journey of a seed and how it needs to perfect conditions for it to grow. This book helps introduce this idea to the students.

Below is a great post activity for the Tiny Seed. We could have a group discussion about what we think is bad for flowers and seeds, along with what we thought would be good for seeds and flowers. The book covers a lot of this, so I will be able to see if my students were listening and really comprehending what I was reading. Just like the picture below, I could make two different columns, one with a frown and one with a smile. We could then begin our list of positive things for seeds and flowers, along with the negative things. I would do this in a first grade classroom.
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The Very Busy Spider

This book goes through the busy day of a spider. It starts out with a spider being blown across a field and landing on a fence post near a farm. The spider gets to work making a web on the fence. All day the spider works on spinning his web. The farm animals all try to distract him by asking him things like if he wanted to take a nap, eat some grass, and take a run in the meadow. All the things the animals asked him to do were activities that the particular animal liked doing. For example, the pig asked the spider if he wanted to roll in the mud. Each time the spider was too busy to answer. At the end of the day, the spider was finally finished spinning his web, and caught a fly in its web. The owl asked who built the beautiful web, and the spider still didn’t answer because he had fallen asleep after the busy day he had.

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Above is a really good worksheet for the students to complete after the read aloud. This would probably be kindergarten or beginning first grade level. The students would simply cut out the animals and glue them on the appropriate name.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

This book starts out with a brown bear looking around. He sees a red bird looking at him, and then the red bird sees a yellow duck looking at him. This goes on for the entire book. All the different animals see something different looking at them. At the end, a goldfish sees a mother looking at him, and then the mother sees children looking at her. The children see all the different animals listed throughout the book, relating all the different animals to each other. I really like how this book shows that just like humans, animals can comprehend when other people are looking at them. It really shows children that animals aren't like aliens and they are like humans in many ways.

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Above are cards that you could pass out after the read aloud. The students are to write the color of the animal in the boxes. This would be kindergarten at the very beginning of the year to help some students who may not know their colors or how to spell them. The animals in the story can serve as a memory mechanism for the students to remember different colors.

The Very Quiet Cricket

The book starts with a little cricket being born from an egg. The little cricket was greeted by a big cricket by rubbing his wings together to make a sound. The little cricket tried to make this sound but was unable to. Throughout the day different insects made sounds to the little cricket, but he was unable to make sound back. At the end of the day the cricket found another little quiet cricket and tried to make the chirping sound. He was finally able to chirp the biggest chirp after a long day of trying.

This book could be used to introduce the diagraph "cr." After the read aloud I would get the students to write down different words that they can think of that start with the "cr" like cricket. I would use this book and activity towards the end of kindergarten.
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