Review: Terry and the Caterpillars by Millicent Selsam

Terry and the Caterpillars (A Science I Can Read Book)Terry and the Caterpillars by Millicent E. Selsam
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is great for young readers. Not only is the language easy to read for beginning readers, but the subject matter is interesting and Selsam’s style draws the reader in.

The 10-year-old daughter of a friend brought this book for my 5.5-year-old daughter to read. We’ve been working on reading, but my daughter has, so far, been reluctant to try longer books than the board books she reads to her little brother. To my surprise, she opened this book and started reading. I helped her with a few words she’d not seen before and for which we’d not yet gone over the rules, but mostly she read on her own for 33 pages of this 64-page book! I read the rest of it because she was tired of reading but wanted to find out what happened.

I don’t like the book only because it’s the first longer book my daughter has read (and because the author’s name is Millicent, a name I’d short-listed for my daughter but which my husband nixed), but also because it’s just a good book. Terry finds a caterpillar on a apple tree and decides she wants to keep it inside. Using a combination of deduction (“What does it eat?” she asks her mother. “Well, where did you find it?” her mother asks. “On the apple tree,” Terry responds, and goes out to get some apple leaves to feed her caterpillar), asking experts (like her classmate, Benny, whose know-it-all-ness Terry barely tolerates), and doing research at the library. It’s suspenseful as we’re waiting to see what happens after the caterpillars have woven their cocoons (Terry ends up collecting and keeping three caterpillars in her room). And it introduces young readers to the idea of cycles and metamorphosis in nature.

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