The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a children’s illustration book celebrates its 50th birthday this year. Eric Carle changed the landscape of children’s books forever when he wrote a simple yet enchanting tale of a very hungry caterpillar. But just where did he find the inspiration to write this magical story? “When I was a small child, as far back as I can remember, my father would take me by the hand and we would go out in nature, and he would show me worms and bugs and bees and ants and explain their lives to me,” Carle told The New York Times in 1994.

The tale, only 244 words long, has sold over 50 million copies and is a children’s classic now. Almost every adult recalls reading it multiple times. The book is not just a tale of a hungry caterpillar, it is an attempt to gently build a cocoon of literacy around children before they begin kindergarten. The metamorphosis of an ordinary caterpillar into a multi-coloured, winged butterfly instills joy. “I think it is a book of hope,” Carle said. He’s wearing suspenders and a shirt that matches his lively blue eyes. “Children need hope. You, little insignificant caterpillar, can grow up into a beautiful butterfly and fly into the world with your talent. Will I ever be able to do that? Yes, you will. I think that is the appeal of that book. “Well, I should know. I did the book, after all!” wrote National Public Radio.

It’s like homecoming in books. When you read this, you feel like you are at home. That one book my children know was written for them. – Shaili Chopra

So as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this magical story, SheThePeople asked its readers to share what is the significance of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ for them.

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Shaili Chopra, founder of SheThePeople.TV says, “It’s like homecoming in books. When you read this, you feel like you are at home. That one book my children know was written for them. Love for hope. Their love for food. Their kiddish greed and brings alive the what happens when so beautifully”

Preeti Vyas, publisher, FunOKPlease says, “Like chocolate milkshakes, blue jeans and swimming in the sea, some things and some experiences never get old. They are timeless and continue to deliver superior levels of pleasure across generations. The beauty of a good book is just that. The creator puts in their heart and soul into it once and the book continues to deliver that energy to readers for years and years.”

Dipali Taneja says, “The validation of hunger, I guess! I know we were often told not to be greedy as children, but both greed and hunger are powerful impulses in childhood. Plus the sheer beauty of the book.”

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Like chocolate milkshakes, blue jeans and swimming in the sea, some things, and some experiences never get old. They are timeless and continue to deliver superior levels of pleasure across generations. – Preeti Vyas

Sunayana Roy shares, “I like it because it helped me introduce fruits as exciting, cool foods. Both my boys have loved the book, they like the whole magic of the transformation.”

Charu Katira says, “While I loved the book (still do) it’s not an emotional connection for me. This was the first book Sinam brought home from school library and one of the first books I bought for Mahak. But I loved how it taught so many things without seeming to. The message for me always was transition and hope.”

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