The Very Hungry Caterpillar – tell the story!

I love the Hungry Caterpillar designs from Andover Fabrics, and there are some striking quilt patterns available, but although these are pretty, they just use the fabrics for their decorative quality and allow the opportunity of telling the story to just slip away. And it’s a great story that many children (and their parents) know by heart.

This is one of the most beloved books for small children – with good reason – it has a wonderfully succinct and rhythmic text that teaches days of the week, number sequencing, names of fruits & foods and the life-cycle of the butterfly. Plus, it’s funny and beautiful to look at.

So, with a nod to the “day job” (Foundation Stage teacher), I’ve designed my own version using a panel showing three large images from the book, plus one fat quarter of the food illustrations and another taken from the “holes” endpapers. I used fabric from my stash for the green frames and dark purple binding.

The hanging is designed to go on the back of a door, and shows the sequence of events in the book, reading from top to bottom:

“In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf. One Sunday morning, the warm sun came up and – pop! – out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar.

He started to look for some food.

On Monday he ate through one apple. But he was still hungry.

On Tuesday he ate through two pears. But he was still hungry.

On Wednesday he ate through three plums. But he was still hungry.

On Thursday he ate through four strawberries. But he was still hungry.

On Friday he ate through five oranges. But he was still hungry.

On Saturday he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice-cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one sausage, one cupcake and one slice of watermelon.

That night he had a stomach ache!

The next day was Sunday again. The caterpillar ate through one nice green leaf, and after that he felt much better.

Now he wasn’t hungry any more – and he wasn’t a little caterpillar any more. He was a big, fat caterpillar.

He built a small house, called a cocoon around himself. He stayed inside for more than two weeks. Then he nibbled a hole in the cocoon, pushed his way out and…

He was a beautiful butterfly.”

Eric Carle (1966)


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