Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Book Review: "The VERY Ordinary Caterpillar" ~ Garry Fleming

Inspired by Thea's post over at her blog, on must have classic children's books I am reviewing my favourite book of all:

The VERY Ordinary Caterpillar
~ Garry Fleming~

ISBN 13: 9781875875344

When the Very Ordinary Caterpillar looked around him, all the other animals and birds had very beautiful colours. Why didn't he? He didn't have shiny feathers or a magnificent orange frill, or red eyes, or spots or rainbow colours. So he spun himself a cocoon to hide, and became . . .

Well if I told you, that would just ruin it all... wouldn't it?

I love this book. It is a tale about differences, possibilities, metamorphisis and not judging by appearances. Full of Australian flora and fauna, it sends a wonderful, positive message to children of all ages.

Once there was a caterpillar, a very ordinary Caterpillar. He looked up one day and saw that the sky was endlessly blue...

So begins his journey. The illustrations are incredible. Beautifully vibrant they leap off the pages pulsating with life. The story: simple, poignant, heartfelt. For our family it mirrored what we faced with Boy 1. I hope it will make people realise how easily they can damage self-belief with thoughtless words.

“I don’t have shiny feathers or a magnificent orange frill, I don’t have red eyes, spots or rainbow colours…..
I really am a very ordinary caterpillar” said the very ordinary caterpillar.

And with that he spun himself a cocoon to hide.

And that’s where he stayed till one day……..

This book helped both sons, especially when they were faced by adversity and condemnation. At twelve, Boy 1 still re-reads it when people get him down. He doesn't understand why people feel they have the right to make massive assumptions about who he is and what he is capable of without even taking the time to know him.

The very ordinary caterpillar was now a very extraordinary butterfly!

Sorry, but it doesn't really spoil the book. There is a lot more detail in it, not to mention the glorious artwork. It makes me cry every time I read it. Especially as my own little caterpillar slowly transforms into a butterfly.

I cannot recommend it highly enough to other parents, it is by far the best I have seen in getting the message to littlies about differences and acceptance.

I will add, I am a little stunned at how limited the information on the web was on this book, and even more floored to see it is not mentioned on Garry Fleming's website. Off to find out why.


Moragg said...

Sounds like a gorgeous book. I might have to source it as my 'new baby' present.

Anything Fits a Naked Man said...

How sweet! I don't have children, but if I did, I'd want them to read THIS! Thanks for posting it!

Melissa said...

Gary Flemming also wrote Alexander's favourite book, Pobblebonk!

Might have to go find yours, sounds wonderful. Thanks for the rec.

Vicki said...

This looks better than the book I'm currently reading and pictures would be a bonus

[Comatere: the ability of Channel 9 Winter Olympic Hosts to ramble on with complete rubbish until you fall into a deep sleep]

Thea said...

How lovely! I haven't seen that one. Will be looking out for it now!! :)