I think that every early childhood person is a fan of Eric Carle’s books. I know that I used them all of the time when I was a teacher and even more as a mom. My kids loved them! We had the board books when they were infants and toddlers and then we graduated to the big books when they got older and finally we invested in the pop-up versions when I knew there was no longer a chance of them destroying them.
A couple of weeks ago, I observed one of my student teachers read The Very Hungry Caterpillar aloud to a group of 18 three-year-olds. She did a great job reading; using all of the skills and techniques of dialogic reading that we teach our growing teachers. While watching her, I realized that there are so many great math concepts in that book. There is sequencing, number sense, number recognition, one-to-one correspondence, and predictability. Using an engaging book to explore these concepts is so much more interesting than so many more typical didactic exercises that tend to be less developmentally appropriate and definitely more boring to young children.
I found this cool website that is filled with ideas about how to use The Very Hungry Caterpillar in a variety of ways, Check it out here.