The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Author: Eric Carle
Plot Summary: A big green caterpillar is born, eats too much, and learns to eat less. Finally, very full, crawls into a cocoon and emerges as a beautiful butterfly.
Posted In: Aesthetics, Ethics

Discussion Questions
  • What is beauty?
  • Are the following things beautiful?
    • a sunrise
    • The Mona Lisa
    • a smile
    • a song
    • a feeling
    • a thought
    • a painting
  • Can we have different ideas about what beauty is?
  • What does something have to have to be beautiful? Anything?
  • What does it feel like when something is beautiful to us? Is this always true?
  • For something to be beautiful, does someone have to think it’s beautiful? Can something be beautiful if no one thinks it is?
  • If something is beautiful, is it always beautiful?
  • Do you think that the butterfly in the story was beautiful?
  • Was the caterpillar more beautiful before or after is transformed?
  • If the caterpillar transformed into a butterfly, is it still the same thing? Why or why not?
  • Why did the caterpillar get a stomachache?
  • Why do you think the caterpillar ate so much?
  • What is the difference between wanting to eat and needing to eat?
  • Is it worse to eat too much or too little?