Did you know that The Very Hungry Caterpillar was written in 1969? It seems hard to believe that he’s been hungry for 40 years, but it’s true! Eric Carle’s fabulous children’s books have been around for a looooong time.
I love this brief interview with Carle about the evolution of this tale:
(Seriously, don’t you just want to hug him and squeeze him and put him in your pocket? I love Eric Carle.)
Both of my children hit that marvelous developmental milestone where they were finally ready to speak and—years apart—both uttered the same word as their first: The dog’s name.
My daughter exploded from there, it seemed, into a myriad of words and sentences almost overnight. She began talking constantly and has yet to stop. My son, on the other hand, was both of a different temperament and paired with an older sister who wouldn’t let him get a word in edgewise. His speech was much slower to develop, and so for a loooong time he was limited to just a handful of words.
He said the dog’s name. He said Mama and he said Dada and he said his own special code for his sister’s name. He said up and he said down and he said “muck” for milk and “kaka” for cracker. And he said “sillhungee.”
“Sillhungee” was toddlerese for “still hungry,” which translated as “It is time for you to read me The Very Hungry Caterpillar six or seven more times while I bounce with delight and shriek ‘SILLHUNGEE! SILLHUNGEE!’ every time the caterpillar is still hungry.”