Eric Carle Books

I adore Eric Carle books. Not just because they are bold, bright and inviting for kids and their imaginations but because I have enjoyed teaching with them for years. First my students then my own son and soon my daughter too. Here are some of the many books we have reviewed of his over the years.

A House for Hermit Crab is a book I have owned for many years. It offers so many learning opportunities for young readers and doesn’t loose any of the entertainment in trying to hard to teach. The hermit crab feels drab and each month he asks different sea creatures to help decorate his shell . As the shell is getting more and more beautiful it’s also getting more and more snug and almost time for the hermit crab to leave it behind and find a bigger one.  The book teaches about sea creatures, months of the year and moving. More than moving it teaches about change . Change is  difficult for all of us but a little trickier for most preschoolers which makes this book so valuable .

Draw Me a Star is often not read in classrooms simply because of a depiction of a naked man and woman. It’s not what most parents expect to find in an Eric Carle book but it is very fitting in this beautiful and really touching book. The story although very similar to a biblical creation story isn’t necessarily reflective only of a christian view point , rather as I read it is was the author’s own creation. It begins and ends with a star , and hits all the right points in between.

Hello, Red Fox is a fun interactive book about colors and the color wheel. Kids will love the “trick” on each page. The trick being that if you stare at a color for long enough then stare at a blank page the complimentary color will appear! This book is great, but not for a group, a class will disintegrate into “Let me!!” and “My turn!” quickly so this is really is best read one on one!

Mister Seahorse is a story about the more involved fish fathers in the sea. Mister seahorse isn’t the only fish that takes care of his eggs until they hatch , in the book we meet other dads that do too. I didn’t realize how many people don’t like this book until I read some reviews on amazon when ordering the book a few months ago. Many parents are off put by the father fish who announces he is “babysitting” his own baby fish. It never really bugged me even though when a parent says that in real life it irks me. All the positive daddy fish outweighs that one comment for me.

Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle ( illustrator) What I appreciate about this book isn’t just the vibrant illustrations or the repetitive text that encourages children to recite it along with the reader, it’s that the book is a great intro to endangered animals. The book introduces readers to animals like the giant panda , bald eagle and giant sea turtle that are all endangered.  When my son was little he liked the repetition, colors and rhythm the test provides, now that he is older reading this book sparks talks about taking care of the earth and all her inhabitants.

The Greedy Python by Richard Buckley and  Eric Carle ( illustrator) is a fun fable about a snake that is so greedy he eats all the animals in the jungle, even ones much larger than him like an elephant! My son thinks this book is hilarious and loves that the animals work together to escape their fate.  The story gets even sillier when the greedy snake ends up eating his own tail!

The Grouchy Ladybug is more than a cute book about a crabby bug. The Lady bug is looking for a fight and each hour she finds a bigger and bigger animal to fight with until she is unintentionally slapped by a big whale’s tail! I loved using this book to teach telling time, as there is a picture of an analog clock on each page. I would use a play clock and as I read each page ask one child to come and set our classroom clock. Also don’t be put off by the fact that the lady bug tries to pick fights, no animal takes her up on her offer and you can spin that into a great lesson about not giving into people who are trying to pick fights.

The Very Busy Spider was a favorite of my son’s from the get go. We have the board book edition and what I love about it, is that the spider web in it is raised and offers a sensory element to reading the story. This is a story of hard work, persistence and also helps reinforce animal sounds. Perfect for toddlers !

The Very Hungry Caterpillar When I sat down to think which book is my absolute favorite, the one that kept coming back into my mind was this classic. As a child the holes the caterpillar made in the pages fascinated me, the colors enchanted me and I remembering being amazed that the caterpillar turned into that huge colorful butterfly! In university while studying elementary education I chose this book as the literary inspiration for a cross curricular unit study for grade 1.  I made math lessons with fruit, science lessons about observing insects and the butterfly life cycle and health lessons about smart food choices. Then teaching preschool I used this awesome book to teach the days of the week, basic counting and more. When I was pregnant I chose this book along with a few other favorites to be my son’s nursery theme. Now that my son is 3 we often pull down the Very Hungry Caterpillar felt board and play with it as we read the story. To me this book is a given, and for every stage of my life, student, student teacher, teacher, mother it has come along for the ride!

The Very Lonely Firefly was one of my son’s favorite books to read before bed when he was a toddler, not so much because of the story but because the board book version has flashing lights at the end ! The story is all about a firefly looking for another firefly but mistaking all different light for a friend. Toddlers love this book because it gives them a chance to be bossy and say ” No that’s a flashlight” to the firefly. The text is the right length for little guys but not boring for older kids , and I need to mention the little lights are really quite magical in a dark bedroom, especially if you are in a place that doesn’t have fireflies!

Which Eric Carle book is your favorite?

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  1. Sarah says

    I am torn. I have 2 favorites, Brown Bear, Brown Bear and the Grouchy Ladybug. Both captivate my children and I have them memorized so I can just tell them whenever we are stuck in traffic or a waiting room. Eric Carle ROCKS!!

  2. DeAndra says

    It’s hard to choose but House for a Hermit Crab is probably tied with The Very Hungry Caterpillar in our home. My oldest son and I love Hermit Crab and my youngest and all the memories of reading it Very Hungry Caterpillar four thousand times over the past four years make it a favorite as well.

  3. says

    I love Eric Carle books! I have read them for years in my classroom and to my own kids. Brown Bear, Brown Bear is a personal favorite because of the rhythm and repetition. I also love the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

  4. says

    I am amazed with how many books he has out. I didn’t realize there was so many of them. Now I am on a mission to read everyone of them to my kids. I was browsing around amazon and they even have games by Eric Carle too. I had no idea.

  5. Brandy says

    I had no idea there was an Eric Carle book called The Greedy Python. My sons would adore this book. Like you I love many of his stories and each of my children have a different favorite of his. My favorite is The Hungry Caterpillar. There is just so much to this book and it lends itself so well to many different discussions.

  6. says

    thanks for the fun collection. there’s a few there that i haven’t yet read. i adore the books, for all the reasons you’ve shared. well, my favourite is the very hungry caterpillar, as a board book for little ones. i just love seeing the little fingers go poking in those holes in the pages.. very cute and interactive.

  7. says

    I love them all for different reasons. We also really like “Little Cloud,” “Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me” and the one about the click beetle (which makes a real clicking sound at the end). Dream Snow and the firefly one are also favorites because of the magical blinking. 🙂

  8. Kim says

    There’s also another great book that by Carle ” Papa, Will you Please give me the moon? Its a great father daughter story with beautiful illustrations (as always) horizontal abd vertical fold out pages to accomodate the father’s very very long ladder he uses to get the moon. The phases of the moon are introduced. The moon is too large for Papa to carry down the ladder but it begins to shrink and he is able to bring it to his daughter but then it disappears but not for long. a large full moon is back in the sky. I remember reading this with my father and now I enjoy hearing my Stepdaughter read it with her father. She also loooves the hungry caterpillar. Also about Mister seahorse i agree that the positive daddy fish involvement outweighs poor choice in words by having the word babysit. But the message is clear the sea creature fathers love their babies and are taking good care of them because theu love them. Great ideas for the lesson plans!


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