Title: Charlie the Caterpillar
Author: Dom DeLuise
Illustrator: Christopher Santoro
Genre/theme of book: realistic fiction
Summary of book: This story teaches children what the meaning of friendship is all about. The animals take on human-like personalities, participating in games and events, and talking to each other. Charlie, a young caterpillar, tries to find some friends to play with. Unfortunately, all he encounters are other characters who judge him based on his looks. They refuse to let him join on account of how ugly he is. Charlie becomes sad and decides to nap alone in his warm cacoon. Later, Charlie wakes up to a wonderful surprise - he is now a butterfly! Only now that he is beaudiful, do the other characters want to be his friend. Remembering how he felt when others made fun of him and left him out, Charlie befriends a sad caterpillar and teaches her about the true meaning of friendship.
Characters: Charlie the caterpillar, two monkeys, two rabbits, two mice, Katie the caterpillar
Reader's comments: This is a cute story that shows children how people feel when they are insulted or left out of the fun. The story does a great job of showing what each character is feeling, and how they react to this. The lesson of this story is all about what it means to be a good friend. The theme is spun throughout the story, but is not overwhelming. Readers finish the story feeling good, knowing Charlie is a good, true friend.
Grade level appropriateness: preschool-third grade