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"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book."
Summary: One day, in the midst of her daydreams about being able to fly, a young caterpillar meets a silk worm. They pledge to spend the rest of their lives together. In the spring, the girl caterpillar has wings and is excited to explore the world. But the silkworm cannot fly. What should she do? This is a bilingual story/poem about a caterpillar's journey to become a butterfly.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 8; read yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 8 to 12
Reading Level: 4.5
Age of Child: Read with 6-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter liked looking at the pictures. She particularly focused on the caterpillar's and silkworm's facial expressions. She also asked a lot of questions about the text and what words meant ("consumed by these thoughts," "submissively," etc.) She didn't want to read this again.
Adult Reader Reaction: This was a surprise. In looking at the pictures, you sense that this is a happy story. It is in parts, but the end left us feeling empty. Although it is presented as a children's book, the word choices and poetic style are for more mature audiences. This is supported by the Q and A at the end of the book.
Pros: Colorful illustrations and expressive faces work together to create a story that you can enjoy with or without words.
Cons: Allegory - in this case using a story to symbolize feelings - requires a mature audience. Some readers may not agree with the butterfly's choice to throw away her dreams. This would have to be covered in a discussion about the book.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow or skip. The story has a strong message, but the illustrations are expressive enough that you could create your own story without following the text.
Educational Themes: There are a number of themes you can explore: relationships, choices, and feelings (joy, selfishness, hurt). There is a glossary of terms in English and Spanish, as well as a Q and A with factual information about caterpillars and silkworms.
Notes: This also is available on CD as Tate Out Loud. Flesch Kincaid reading level 4.5