Ross Burach, author and illustrator of the beloved story Truck Full of Ducks is back with another fun-filled, page-turner in The Very Impatient Caterpillar (Scholastic). Burach’s lively illustrations and comical storyline is guaranteed to keep your young one engaged and entertained.
This story starts with our anxious protagonist, a purple-spotted caterpillar confused as to where all his caterpillar friends are going. All the other caterpillars are crawling up a tree when he asks in a frustrated tone what they are going to do. He receives his answer from one of the caterpillars on the move, “We’re going to metamorphosize.”
Right away, Burach brings in a scientific term that some young readers may not know at first glance but will soon understand. Our caterpillar is also confused by the sizable term, but his friend explains that it’s a fancy way of saying they are going to transform into butterflies. This is the first we hear our caterpillar’s seemingly easygoing yet comical catchphrase “Right. Right” that follows him throughout the book in trying times of impatience.
Our caterpillar friend is ecstatic when he realizes that he is going to be able to become a butterfly. However, he is not well-versed on the steps that he must take in the transformation process. His friend helps him along, explaining that he must first create a chrysalis. Once our caterpillar creates his chrysalis, he feels that he should be able to transform right away. However, when his friend explains that it will take a whole two weeks until his transformation is complete, he agonizes over having to wait. Many squirming young ones will have no problem empathizing with our antsy friend.
Our caterpillar is told to be patient, but instead of waiting he tries to take a shortcut and break out early. When the caterpillar emerges as a wingless gloppy mess rather than a spectacular butterfly, he comes to terms with the fact that some things in life can’t take shortcuts. He ventures back into his chrysalis, where he attempts to keep himself occupied for two weeks.
Burach illustrates the time our caterpillar spends in his chrysalis in a witty way, with a different, dramatic facial expression on each day. Finally, our main caterpillar is able to obtain the focus and motivation to wait with his goal in mind. In the end, he completes his transformation into a butterfly and pledges to be more patient in the future, or maybe just until his next adventure.
This children’s book, while quite the laugh, also has an important message. We live in a world that is fueled by immediate satisfaction, technology only furthering this lifestyle. This expectation for immediate results is especially true with the younger generations. Our caterpillar struggles with waiting the two weeks necessary to become a butterfly but is ultimately able to achieve his goal with patience. This book helps teach children the importance of being patient with a comically lovable caterpillar friend, and even throws in a bit about the science behind the natural world along the way.
ABOUT ROSS BURACH:
Ross Baruch loves drawing pictures, making up jokes, dabbling in animation and hanging out with his family. He is the creator of Truck Full of Ducks, as well as the illustrator of Jennifer Hamburg’s Billy Bloo Is Stuck in Goo, a 2018 CBC Children’s Choice Book Awards finalist. Ross lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he is enthusiastically at work on several new books. You can visit him online at rossburach.com.