Transformation Baby Steps

By Kalan Gott


The Hungry Caterpillar is a well know children’s book documenting the days of eating precede a caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly. Not only is it a cool book because of the pictures (and that tiny hole in the food on each page that shows you where the caterpillar ate), but because I’ve decided it is a metaphor for a child’s relationship with reading. Just so you all know, I didn’t ask Eric Carle about this metaphor.  I’ve just decided it is a thing from watching my 8 month old daughter begin her relationship with books. Like the caterpillar, she is hungry. Yes, of course, for actual foods. But also for books, letters, language, and the delicious cardboard they are printed on. Even though she is just knawing at the pages right now (literally so hungry for knowledge that she is eating the pages of the books), she is already starting to play with turning the pages, looking at the pictures, and laughing at the onomatopoeia. I am excited to see her blossom (not into a butterfly- that would be too Kafkaesque) into a reader who engages with the words and stories of fabulous writers. For now it is baby steps, but one day…

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