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by Janet Halfmann, Emily Krueger (Illustrator)
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A charming children’s picture book, delightfully illustrated in shades of pale green, blue, gold and brown - nature colors that resonate with the themes explored of transformation, friendship, and the wonder of the natural world around us.
There is magic all around us, we learn - creatures large and small are constantly changing, growing, becoming more, in some cases, than even they had ever imagined.
As Caterpillar and Tadpole, our main protagonists, receive an invitation to an upcoming masquerade ball, hosted by a wise old owl, their excitement builds as they support each other in their dream to win big and take home the prized blue ribbon.
As these wonderful creatures play and sing, becoming fast friends in the luscious moonlight, the author and illustrator’s elegant font, graceful rhymes, and sweetly evocative pictures conjure up a quiet, magical mood, - one that both reader and child will find soothing and endearing.
As the friends continue to eat and grow, it’s not long before some strange events begin to unfold. Caterpillar, who finds herself suddenly encapsulated in a mummified chrysalis, becomes inaccessible to a worried Tadpole, who appears to be going through some changes of his own. Something mysterious is definitely afoot, and it’s impossible for Tadpole to hold back his panic, worrying now that Caterpillar will lose her chance to take home her coveted blue ribbon.
As Caterpillar finally emerges as a beautiful Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, on her own and with no sign of Tadpole, she begins an all encompassing search, all thoughts of the contest forgotten, in her quest to find her missing tadpole buddy.
There is inevitably great joy when they are finally reunited - Tadpole now a leaping and lovely Leopard Frog - and ultimately, there is a gentle lesson presented for all of us to learn.
Transformational changes, like disguises we shed, do not change who we are, deep inside.
We may not always be able to predict or imagine the wonders growing (or growing up) may bring.
But throughout it all, as Caterpillar and Tadpole discovered, there is nothing more important than living our lives as joyously as we can with those we count on, to be there for us, as we will be there for them - our special friends.
A great big thank you to LibraryThing for this Early Reviewers ARC of #Caterpillars Surprise. All thoughts presented are my own.
The illustrations are gorgeous! And the story sweet, but I felt the tale did leave some gaps in the story line. But I'm sure no creature-loving child will notice and will bring this one to bed for story time for many nights to come
A masquerade ball with a blue ribbon! Caterpillar dreams of winning, but wonders how she can since she is just a baby. Tadpole convinces her that her natural baby disguise as bird poo is perfect. As Caterpillar grows, her look changes, and she worries again. Tadpole tells her she now looks like a scary snake, and is sure to win! Then . . . just weeks before the ball, Caterpillar spins a chrysalis and hangs unmoving from her tree. Now, even Tadpole (who is changing into a frog) is worried. Will Caterpillar break out of her chrysalis in time? And if she makes it to the ball, will she still think winning is the most important thing of all?
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Janet Halfmann's book Caterpillar's Surprise was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
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