Loretta’s Pet Caterpillar by Lois Wickstrom and illustrated by Francie Mion, picture e-book, 38 pages, published by Look Under Rocks/Gripper Products in 2017.
Loretta watches the masses of butterflies in the milkweed meadow near her home. When she goes to investigate, she finds tiny eggs stuck to the underside of the leaves. Over the following weeks, Loretta watches as an egg hatches, and a caterpillar grows, readying itself to become a butterfly.
Loretta’s Pet Caterpillar is a wonderful blend of fact and fiction. The story follows Loretta as she witnesses the life-cycle of a caterpillar from egg through to Monarch Butterfly. The process is interesting, and has been well explained and illustrated throughout the story. I laughed when Loretta taped the leaf back to the plant! And I liked the way that the possible predators of the caterpillar were introduced.
There is further information about the annual Monarch butterfly migration, how to obtain milkweed seeds and how to determine the sex of Monarch butterflies. This extra section was quite interesting and informative.
Loretta’s Pet Caterpillar is a lovely way to introduce children to the butterfly lifecycle, and is suitable for primary aged children.
*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.
Explorers: Insects and Minibeasts by Jinny Johnson, paperback non-fiction, 31 pages, first published by Kingfisher in 2011, this edition published by Kingfisher in 2014.
This is another title in the Kingfisher Explorers series of non-fiction for children. The information is pitched well for preschoolers and primary school children, with full colour illustrations and photography throughout.
The layout is simple and the facts interesting. There is lots to learn about bugs and creepy crawlies in this book. It looks at life cycles, insect homes, diets and water creatures. My preschooler particularly liked the pages on camouflage, and defense. She liked the thorn bugs.
As I read through Explorers: Insects and Minibeasts with my preschooler I saw plenty of insects that were new to me, and I learnt right along with her. It’s nice to find non-fiction books that my kids enjoy and that provide us all with opportunities for learning.
The kids are very excited by bugs at the moment, and they think ladybirds are particularly nice. They made a ladybird each from a paper bowl.
The faded colour of the painted bowls.
They started by painting their upside-down bowls with red paint. The tube stated “Rockin’ Red”, but it looked far more pink on the bowl. We did three coats of red paint on each bowl, but it still looked pinkish and thin. It’s a new tube of paint, and I’m quite disappointed in it, I was hoping for a more vibrant red for our ladybirds. No matter though, the kids still liked the colour!
Gluing on spots.
I cut out the heads from some black foam, and the kids glued them onto the ladybirds’ bodies. They stuck on eye stickers, and added a curled black pipe cleaner for antennae. They also glued on lots of black paper dots that I had cut out earlier.
Sticking on the legs.
Six legs per ladybird made from black pipe cleaners, and sticky taped to the underside of the bowl, and they were finished. The kids are very proud of their new ladybird friends.
This is a craft that gets done a lot at pre-schools and playgroups, but never seems to lose its appeal. In the past we have decorated these caterpillars with paint, textas, stickers, and gluing on bits of paper, cellophane and fabric. Sometimes they are short caterpillars and sometimes long, but always fun!
Painting a caterpillar.
Waiting, waiting, waiting for them to dry.
We had half an egg carton left over from some other craft, so I cut this in half to make two caterpillars for A. She chose to paint one green and one red. She put so much paint on them that it took all day to dry… Eventually we got back to them and A decorated them. I punched two holes with my awl in the head of each caterpillar so that A could add pipe-cleaner antennae. She also glued on some googly eyes, and then used pompoms to decorate their bodies. She gave the red one a pompom nose. They are very cute!
Bending the antennae into shape.
Decorating a caterpillar.
We don’t normally do anything for Halloween, it’s not something we’ve really gotten into, but seeing all the decorations available in the shops put me in the mood for making some egg carton spiders. Luckily we have a large supply of egg cartons at the moment, so I pulled one out and cut it up into the individual cups.
Painting the egg carton cups.
The kids painted the egg cups inside and out with black paint (getting a lot on themselves in the process). We left these to dry for a while and then came back to add pipe-cleaner legs and googly eyes. I used an awl to punch the holes for the pipe-cleaner legs, making it easier for the kids to push the legs through. My awl is very sharp, and I didn’t allow the girls to touch it. A still had a lot of trouble putting legs on her spiders, so I helped her put them in and then shape them to give them knees and feet. L was able to put legs on her spiders and make them into a shape that she wanted.
Adding a mouth.
A added some red paint to two of her spiders and told me they were red-backs, and one got a big red mouth. L preferred hers just black. I punched a hole into the top of each spider and added some string and then attached them to the ceiling with blu-tack.
Spiders hanging from the ceiling.