The Woolly Bear Caterpillar


When the garden is cleared of dandelion leaves, The Woolly Bear Caterpillar begins her search for more. It results in her encountering the ‘queen of the sycamore leaves’ who dazzles with her bright colours. She predicts her own dazzling butterfly wings to The Woolly Bear Caterpillar, before stating that Woolly Bear’s colours will be dull. Is she correct?

What’s more the vapourer caterpillar in the apple tree suggests something similar. It seems he predicts that he will emerge from his moth cocoon as something quite spectacular. So does ‘the king of the tall poplar tree’. Furthermore, both announce that The Woolly Bear Caterpillar will be a moth with dull and boring wings.

Therefore, after a final feed of dandelion leaves, The Woolly Bear Caterpillar is disconsolate as she weaves her cocoon and prepares for her transformation. Then again, as the other butterfly and moths emerge, they are curious as to the changes they will discover in Woolly Bear. Will they be proved right?

Alongside a charming story from Julia Donaldson, including descriptive rhymes that beg to be recalled and recited, The Woolly Bear Caterpillar includes a booklet of caterpillar and moth facts from Michael Blencowe.

What’s more, this book is set alight by the glorious iridescent colours and undulating shapes from Yuval Zommer’s pictures.

Altogether, it means that The Woolly Bear Caterpillar is a spectacular, satisfying and fascinating picture book recommended for reading together and often, researching, knowing and gifting.

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The Woolly Bear Caterpillar

Julia Donaldson and Yuval Zommer

(Pan Macmillan)- hardback

The Woolly Bear Caterpillar lives ‘in a garden’ where she eats ‘dandelion leaves’. Yet what might happen when a gardener removes all the dandelions? Is it possible she might find another of her kind with ‘very long yellow and orange hair’? Could this be the ‘queen  of the sycamore tree‘? Then again, what of her claim that Woolly Bear’s transformation into a butterfly will result in ‘very plain’ wings?
Then again, what of another with ‘red spots and bright yellow tufts’, who seems to be ‘the king of the old apple tree’? It seems this vapourer species considers that Woolly’s change into a moth, maybe, will result in a ‘very dull’ variety!
Furthermore, Woolly’s travels result in meeting ‘the king of the tall poplar tree’ who suggests that Woolly’s moth will be ‘very boring’.
It seems that our caterpillar is conscious of becoming ‘plain and dull’ despite her joy at finding ‘some dandelion leaves‘. Therefore, what will result after the spins herself ‘a nice silky coat‘ cocoon?
Julia Donaldson offers a thoughtful story that investigates the variety of mini beasts, alongside the butterfly life cycle. Alongside Yuval Zommer’s iridescent colours, layers and textures, loved in books such as The Big Book of Blooms, we are captivated by Woolly’s fate. Will the other caterpillars be correct?
Not only do we enjoy a beautiful story of nature with lush pictures, but the rhyming verse and thereafter, the addition of a mini book ‘All About Caterpillars and Moths’ by Michael Blencowe, is a bonus.
The Woolly Bear Caterpillar is a triumph, a title to be read, loved, shared and gifted. Bookwagon recommends this picture book highly.


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