The Secret Life of the Woolly Caterpillar

illus. by Joan Paley. 32p. diag. glossary. Boyds Mills. Apr. 2014. RTE $16.95. ISBN 9781620910009. LC 2013947716.
K-Gr 3—In this picture-book equivalent of watching a nature documentary, Bella, a woolly bear caterpillar eats, molts, and eats again in a months-long journey through forests, gardens, and lawns. Potential perils come in the form of a garter snake, a blue jay, and a passing car, though Bella gets through the dangers intact. Italicized insect terms are smoothly incorporated into the story, such as how the three pairs of her "true legs" attached to her thorax allow her to hold a leaf steady when she chews and help her climb. Colorful cut-paper drawings bring Bella and her world to life, emphasizing the texture of her fuzzy-looking black-and-orange body and gloriously displaying the wingspan of the tiger moth she becomes. Further information and a diagram of a woolly bear caterpillar are included in the back matter, all the better to satisfy insect-loving readers.—Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library
Informative, engaging, and immediate-feeling, a third-person narrative follows Bella, a banded woolly bear caterpillar, as she grows, molts, avoids dangers, hibernates, weaves a cocoon, and emerges as an Isabella Tiger Moth. Paley's sunny cut-paper and mixed-media art sets the furry critter in colorful landscapes of wild flowers and crunchy leaves. More information and an anatomical diagram conclude the book. Glos.

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