The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic that has been delighting readers for over 60 years. We’ve identified 20 best children’s books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, based on their illustrations, fun animal characters, or focus on an animal’s life cycle.
Carle’s signature collage illustrations light up the pages of the book and fascinate youngsters with their colorful and whimsical style.
The story follows a caterpillar’s life cycle, which begins on a Sunday morning when it pops out of a tiny egg. With a rumbling tummy, the young caterpillar begins to look for some food. On the first day, he eats one piece of food, adding one more piece of food each day.
On Saturday, the caterpillar eats enough food to give him a tummy ache, which is remedied by eating a green leaf the next day. When the caterpillar has grown large the following Sunday, he builds a cocoon. Two weeks later, he emerges as a magnificent, colorful butterfly.
Readers enjoy this story for its fun, simple, and predictable plot and for its gorgeous illustrations. If you’ve just finished reading this to your little one and are looking for a readalike, read on for our recommendations!
20 Best Books Like The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s First Spring by Eric Carle
If you and your little one loved the original The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you’ll want to pick up the other Hungry Caterpillar books that focus on the seasons. In The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s First Spring, Carle celebrates the renewal and excitement the first warm days of spring bring.
With the same illustration style presented in his original Caterpillar book, Carle captures the heart of the season and the hearts of his readers. Be sure to read all of them and pick up the ones about summer, fall, and winter.
The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach
Inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar, this book is the perfect follow up to readers who enjoyed Carle’s book. Silly pictures and speech bubbles combine to present one caterpillar’s journey through metamorphosis. Excited to emerge as a butterfly, the caterpillar asks repeatedly “Am I a butterfly yet?”
Grown-ups will chuckle at the similarities between the caterpillar and an impatient child and young readers will adore the illustrations. A perfect choice to add more caterpillars to your storytime.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? by Eric Carle
If you loved The Very Hungry Caterpillar, pick up another of Carle’s classics, Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you See? Perfect for little readers, this rhythmic and rhyming book is catchy and predictable.
Simple words complement Carle’s gorgeous collage illustrations. Youngsters will gravitate towards this book as they grow confident enough to read along with a grown up.
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood
This sweet story features a mouse who has found a delicious, red ripe strawberry. A narrator warns the mouse that they’ll need to hide it so that a hungry bear doesn’t come and eat it.
Readers will giggle as the mouse tries out different disguises and attempts to hide the strawberry. A cute readalike for The Very Hungry Caterpillar, be sure to add this book to your read aloud list.
If you Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
Another classic that has inspired several spinoffs, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is a circular story about a mouse who asks for a cookie. Young readers will love the chain of events that occurs when the mouse asks for a cookie.
If you enjoy this book, try out Numeroff’s other playful titles, including If You Give a Moose a Muffin and If You Give a Cat a Cupcake.
A Little Book About Spring by Leo Leoni
This adorable book is perfect for youngsters who are excited about spring. In Leoni’s classic style of illustration, a little mouse explores all of the beautiful parts of springs, like birds chirping in their nests and bunnies in the bushes.
A celebration of spring, this is great for readers who enjoy books about animals and is a perfect way to explore nature and the changing seasons.
Duck and Goose by Tad Hills
If your little reader can’t get enough of animals and loves the simple storyline of Carle’s book, pick up the Duck and Goose series. In the first book, Duck and Goose argue over who an egg belongs to. In other books, they express their emotions and have fun together.
Sweet, inviting illustrations invite youngsters into the familiar stories, and grown ups will love the social emotional themes they focus on.
Out of Nowhere by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros
Another story about metamorphosis, this sweet story is told from the point of view of a beetle. When his caterpillar friend goes missing, he goes on an adventure to find her. Little does the beetle know, but the caterpillar has gone into her cocoon, only to emerge as a butterfly and be reunited with her friend.
This beautiful story of friendship not only captures the process of metamorphosis in caterpillars, but can also be a metaphor for what happens to relationships when people change. A wonderful conversation starter on so many levels, be sure to check this book out.
The Very Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
For fans of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Grouchy Ladybug will be another favorite. When a ladybug falls victim to hanger, she begins snapping at animals and challenging them to fights. After spending the whole day arguing with other animals, another kind-hearted ladybug offers to share her food with her.
A classic that has been enjoyed for decades, this fun, interactive, repetitive book will be loved by your youngsters.
What about Worms!? By Ryan T. Higgins and Mo Willems
Ryan T. Higgens and Mo Willems are incredible on their own, but combined? Pure magic! This creative and silly book that’s written and illustrated by the two of them will likely become one of your favorite books.
Piggie has written a new book that she shares with Gerald that’s about a tiger who is afraid of worms. A book within a book, readers will giggle throughout!
I Love You, Stick Insect by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros
When a stick insect mistakes a stick for another stick insect, he is so excited to make a new friend. Despite a butterfly telling him it’s a stick, the stick insect’s imagination goes wild making plans.
A silly and imaginative book, this is perfect for readers who adored The Very Hungry Caterpillar!
The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle
Eric Carle has an enchanting way of making insects come alive in his picture books. In The Very Busy Spider, a spider ignores invitations from other animals to join them doing fun activities. Instead, she focuses on spinning a web to capture a pesky fly to eat.
A simple, repetitive book, young readers will love the illustrations in this book, and grown ups will love the lesson it teaches.
Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert
For readers who’d like to learn more about the life cycle of a butterfly, Waiting for Wings is a perfect exploratory book. Ehlert’s creative illustrations and rhyming text describe the intricate life cycle of butterflies in a child-friendly way.
Perfect for fans of The Very Hungry Caterpillar who are enchanted with how caterpillars transform into butterflies, this book is a perfect pair to Eric Carle’s classic.
Hello, World! Backyard Bugs by Jill McDonald
For a nonfiction pairing to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, try Hello, World! Backyard Bugs. Readers will explore the insects that are in their backyard and will be prompted to identify them the next time they’re outside.
A great companion book to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, this nonfiction book is simple with bright illustrations. Readers will enjoy this book over and over again.
Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin
Take a trip into the mind of a spider with this fun and creative book! Youngsters will love following along as the spider attends school and does everyday things that he recounts in his diary.
If your reader loves this book, be sure to pick up Cronin’s other books including Diary of a Worm and Diary of a Fly.
Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni
Leo Lionni’s gentle tale about an inchworm that measures other animals has a clever twist when the worm measures a bird’s song and inches away. Readers will be immersed in the illustrations that earned the Caldecott Honor Award.
A Butterfly is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston
For readers who may have outgrown the simplicity of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and are on the search for informational books about butterflies, this stunning book is perfect.
With intricate, detailed illustrations and a ton of captivating facts, readers will love pairing this book with Eric Carle’s classic.
In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming
This beautiful and bright picture book is perfect for fans of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Fleming’s artistic style of pulp painting will enchant readers as rhyming words describe wildlife that lives in the tall, tall grass.
Snakes, caterpillars, and fireflies all make an appearance. Little ones will want to hear this book over and over again, and will delight in all the action that takes place in the tall, tall grass.
Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang
When Jim the monkey wakes up one morning and feels like everything is wrong. As his friends suggest that maybe he’s just grumpy, they think of ways to help him look and feel happier.
Great for little minds to start thinking about social emotional concepts, this book is perfect for a silly read aloud that will also spark some thoughtful discussions.
Old Bear by Kevin Henkes
Kevin Henkes’s book Old Bear is a lovely look at a bear’s hibernation dream. With stunning illustrations that pop off the page, this simple story of a bear through the seasons will capture little ones’ imaginations.
This nature-focused book will also foster explorations into the life cycle of a bear. If your youngster loves this book, you’ll want to try out Henkes’s other ones like Kitten’s First Full Moon and Chrysanthemum.
How many books has Eric Carle written?
Throughout his lifetime, Eric Carle wrote more than 70 books!
How does Eric Carle create his illustrations?
Eric Carle creates illustrations by creating collages that incorporate layering paper that he has hand painted.
Has Eric Carle won any Caldecott Medals?
Despite being awarded numerous awards for his contributions to children’s literature, Eric Carle never won a Caldecott Medal.
There are several authors whose illustration and writing styles are similar to Eric Carle’s, including Leo Lionni and Lois Ehlert.
How can I learn more about Eric Carle?
To learn more about Eric Carle, visit his website or visit the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts.
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