I love reading books!
My mom told me that no one taught me to love books. I just naturally did. Well, I still do. I guess growing up in the 80’s with no internet and having no interest in watching the TV, my choice for entertainment was pretty limited.
I grew up reading National Geographic magazines because dad was a collector. Aside from the NatGeo magazines, we had bible stories, bible, Readers’ Digest, other books mostly read by the adults in the family. The NatGeo magazines were my favorite. Before I even knew that the Philippine islands consisted of more than seven thousand islands, I knew about the devastating eruption of Pompeii, or how tofu was produced in Japan, or how Indonesians would greet each other “selamat pagi” (good morning) – the first foreign greeting I learned. The magazine had so much influence on me, my mom once brought me to a “white”, presumably American, dentist and was amazed that such people did exist, I stared at him the whole time! It was through the magazine that I first learned about other countries, civilizations, wars, famine in Africa and all other things that otherwise I would know nothing about pre-kinder.
Why “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is Such a Great Book
When I became a mom, I looked for age-appropriate books to read to my young children. But there were so many, it can get pretty overwhelming. Choosing what books to read for the age group 3-5 years old is a bit tricky because kids in this age love to play a lot. Getting them settle down to read can be a challenge. You would need to choose a book that is easily understood at one glance, written in simple language, and has engaging pictures. Also, this is usually the age that parents prepare the kids for school by helping them develop the habit of reading and learning while having fun altogether. Tricky, right?
I may not be an expert in child development, but if I were asked to choose only one book to read to young children, I’d say it’s the book, “The Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. When I took a workshop on “Writing Stories for Children” last year, this book was also highly recommended by my mentor, who is a prolific writer and a three-time winner of Palanca Awards.
I’ve listed down my top reasons why I personally recommend this book for young children:
1. The colors on the book are so vibrant and bold, you can teach your child about colors by using this book alone.
2. The book is first, and foremost, a picture book. Each page consists of one story line per page written in simple language. The rest of the page is occupied by colorful drawings thus, making it easy for young children to read and visualize what’s going on in the caterpillar’s short life.
3. The book consists of layers of teachable concepts – days of the week, metamorphosis of the caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly, different kinds of fruits and vegetables as well as, the concept of night time when the moon is up, and daytime when the sun is up.
4. You can use the book to teach the kids that eating made the caterpillar even more beautiful – something to motivate picky eaters to eat fruits and vegetables, and all variety of food. It also teaches about how eating too much can make one sick. Really, this book is also about moderation.
5. You can read this book to older children too while observing a caterpillar in the garden. You can further advance the learning on how butterflies help balance the environment and how these are perfect indicator of pollution level of air around us. This would teach them to love nature more, I believe.
Have you read this book yourself?