Caterpillars book cover image


  • 1495

By: Marilyn Singer

“Soon on wings they’ll rise,
straight into the skies.”

Caterpillars attract children like magnets—their shapes, colors, and locomotion styles are impossible to resist. Now children can explore the dazzling diversity of the world’s caterpillars illustrated in hundreds of full-color photographs. The charm of these larval forms of moths and butterflies is captured in verse and easy-to-follow narrative text by award-winning poet and nature writer Marilyn Singer.

Includes matching game, quiz, glossary, and index.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Marilyn Singer, author

Marilyn Singer has authored more than seventy children’s books in multiple genres, including young adult fiction, mysteries, poetry, and picture books. She has won many awards, notably the National Science Teachers Association/Children’s Book Council (NSTA/CBC) Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students, an Animal Behavior Society Award, and a Booklist selection for the Top Ten Science Books for Children. Marilyn lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Read more about Marilyn.

Awards & Honors:

  • An NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12

Editorial Reviews:

Booklist Online

This brightly illustrated book leads off with a six-stanza, rhyming poem about caterpillars. With one exception, phrases from the verse reappear sequentially in bold red letters on the pages that follow, along with a paragraph or two discussing the ideas suggested, if not directly stated, by those phrases. Six or more photos, drawn from a variety of sources and clearly reproduced, appear on a typical spread, along with colorful captions, arrows, borders. Although the poem itself is quite good, and the text and photos explore subjects it raises, more direct headings identifying different topics would have brought greater clarity to the presentation. The extensive back matter includes a page on caterpillar anatomy, a glossary, lists of recommended books and websites, a list of scientific and common names for species mentioned, and two appealing and well-designed activities laid out on double-page spreads. For larger collections. –Carolyn Phelan

Children's Literature

Do you have an adverse reaction to caterpillars? In theses close-up photographs, one really does see the beauty and variety among caterpillars. Then seeing the beautiful creatures that they become is truly one of the marvels of nature. Singer opens her book with a poem. Then the text describes the various types of caterpillars. One thing becomes quite clear, these creatures that hatch from the eggs laid by butterflies and moths are born hungry. Most eat the vegetation where they hatch. Some caterpillars are loners (monarch) while others live in groups (tent caterpillars). Some grow quickly from egg to adult others like the Yellow Wooly Bear take longer and curl up into a ball in its winter home. All the full color pictures are labeled and one can certainly learn the names of more than fifty caterpillars and butterflies, their characteristics, and most importantly those that are benign as far as humans are concerned as well as those that can cause rashes, headaches, stomach problems, and fevers. Pictures show the life cycle and body parts of these creatures. At the end of the book there is a quiz and matching game (caterpillar to its moth or butterfly adult form). After going back and checking through the book, this reviewer did not find the adult forms to make the connections—so it is by guess and deduction that any reader would get them all correctly matched. Fortunately the answers are given. The closing pages include one devoted to anatomy and another to a glossary. There is also a full page of book and Internet resources. Finally, there is a page with the scientific names of all the featured caterpillars, moths and butterflies, and an index. Eye opening and informative, this book should appeal to most kids who wonder about those hairy creatures that appear at certain times of the year as well as the butterflies that flit about in spring and summer. –Marilyn Courtot

Curriculum Connections

Imaginative and informative, Marilyn Singer's Caterpillars (EarlyLight, 2011; PreS-Gr 4) opens with a six-stanza poem describing the wonders of these wormlike larvae. Beginning with "Caterpillars smooth,/caterpillars hairy./Munching in a giant bunch,/Lunching solitary.," the whimsical verses touch upon various aspects of caterpillar life and end with the transformed critters taking wing "To spend their hours finding flowers-/New moths and butterflies!" On the spreads that follow, the verses are reprinted in large, flowing letters, while the accompanying text and spectacular full-color photos expand upon each phrase with detailed explanations.

Topics covered include feeding habits, movement, physical characteristics, camouflage, defense mechanisms, and metamorphosis. Well-written and accessible, the text smoothly incorporates scientific terms (e.g., "instar" or "setae"), which are defined in a glossary, and a plethora of interesting facts about particular species. The colorful close-up photos illustrate the author's points, while the caterpillars depicted (and identified by captions) will astonish readers with their beauty and diversity. A pop quiz and caterpillar-to-moth/butterfly match-up game are appended. With its multifaceted approach, this book can be shared with a variety of age groups and used to support scientific fact-finding or creative writing projects.

Science News

A colorful look at caterpillars—sometimes woolly, sometimes spotted, occasionally sporting fake faces—shows how they transform into delicate, winged insects.

School Library Journal

This basic introduction to caterpillar reproduction, development, diet, survival, habitat and anatomy is combined with powerfully clear photography that will captivate a wide audience. The book has two levels of text: simple, capitalized red letters that swirl across the pages for the youngest readers to more complicated paragraphs easy enough for third or fourth graders to enjoy. The book opens with a simple six-stanza poem that begins, "Caterpillars smooth,/Caterpillars hairy./Munching in a giant bunch./Lunching solitary" and swings through caterpillar movement, growth, camouflage, development, and metamorphosis. Each paragraph includes a smoothly written explication that will prepare children to take a 12-question "Pop Quiz" and play "Match the Caterpillar to the Moth or Butterfly." The text concludes with information about the anatomy of a caterpillar and scientific and common names of butterflies and moths. Lois Ehlert's exemplary Waiting for Wings (Harcourt, 2001) is for younger listeners while Darlyne Murawski's Face to Face with Caterpillars (National Geographic, 2007) is for third- to fourth-grade readers. Singers Caterpillars will serve both groups when the other popular titles are checked out, which they usually are. —Nancy Call, Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Aptos, CA


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ISBN: 978-0-9797455-7-7

ISBN: 978-1-60734-391-2 PDF
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 4-7
Page count: 40
10 x 8

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