Title: The Tiny Caterpillar and the Great Big Tree
Author: Kelly Moran
Illustrator: Lyn Lorbeske
Genre: Children's Picture Book
The Tiny Caterpillar is a wonderfully illustrated and written book. The tiny caterpillar lives in a big tree; the tree is also his friend. One day the caterpillar leaves his to explore the world around him. He is saddened when the insects he meets won't be his friend. The tiny caterpillar goes back to his friend the tree, and finds comfort. Each insect has its own reason for at first dismissing the tiny caterpillar, but when the caterpillar wrapped itself in a cocoon and emerged a butterfly, he wins over the friendship of the insects.
The Tiny Caterpillar provides an important message about the differences between us all. I read The Tiny Caterpillar to my 3-year-old grandson and he enjoyed it. He listened attentively and was concerned about the tiny caterpillar. He also enjoyed the illustrations. This is the reaction an author wants from a young child.
As I mentioned, it is a wonderful young children's book, but I did find one drawback to it. The message it is sending may be construed differently than what the author intended. When the caterpillar ventured out in search of new things and friends, the insects he met all found fault with him because he didn't meet their criteria for a friend. The first insect he came to, a ladybug, told him they couldn't be friends because he didn't have spots and couldn't fly. Next, he met the spider. The spider told him he lacked the ability to spin a web. Then, came the ant. The ant felt the caterpillar wasn't strong enough. The only way the caterpillar was able to meet their criteria for friendship was to become a butterfly. This changed the caterpillar's appearance and physical attributes, thus the drawback.
Although the book is engaging and charming, showing children that the only way for the caterpillar to gain the friendship of the insects was to become something else, something stronger and more attractive, may not be the message we want to convey to children. It is important for children to know that they will be accepted and liked for who they are; they don't have to become psychically different to be liked and accepted. Although, the caterpillar was surprised by his metamorphosis (he didn't intentionally change), it still shows a need for change to be accepted. But, you should read it for yourself to determine if I am off base. Aside from this one drawback, it is a delightful book.
About the author: Kelly Moran is an author of several published books in romance, literature, and children's genres, a recipient of an Editor's Choice Award for Outstanding Achievement, inducted into the Who's Who Book of Americans, a Finalist in the 2009 Indie Excellence Book Awards, and a Finalist in the 2008 Best Books Awards. She resides in Milwaukee, WI with her husband, twin sons, and black lab.
About the illustrator: Lynn Lorbeske is a native of Milwaukee, WI. She obtained a Graphic Design degree from UWM and works as a full time veterinarian's assistant.
About the reviewer: Karen Cioffi is a freelance writer; a reviewer for BookPleasures.com; and a co-moderator of a children's critique group. She is also the co-author of Day's End Lullaby, a lyrical and rhyming children's bedtime picture book.
Her blogsite, Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children, at http://karenandrobyn.blogspot.com, offers two FREE ebooks on writing for children (A Children's Writer's Checklist, and Dealing With Writer's Stress). It also offers writing and marketing articles, as well as book reviews. In addition to this, it is a hosting site for VBT - Writers on the Move (a group of authors who cross-promote using a number of marketing strategies).
Karen is also on the team of DKV Writing 4 U at .com. If you're interested in writing for children, check out our Learn to Write page at: http://dkvwriting4u.com/learn-to-write/
DKV Writing 4 U also offers a number of affordable and professional writing services.