The Secret Life of the Woolly Bear Caterpillar
by Laurence Pringle; illus by Joan Paley
32 pages; ages 5 - 7
Boyds Mills Press, 2014
“Bella is no ordinary caterpillar,” writes Laurence Pringle. “She is a banded woolly bear...” So begins this introduction to the secret life of a well-loved caterpillar.
Bella has 16 legs – how do you even walk on 16 legs? Not to worry – Pringle explains how different legs help Bella climb, move, and even help her eat. And eat. And EAT… woolly bears, it turns out, eat a lot. And produce a lot of frass (a cool word for caterpillar poop).
Bella eats all summer long, and then finds a safe place to sleep away the winter. In the spring, wooly bears wake up and start eating. Again.
Perhaps you’ve seen Bella and her buddies wandering about your yard searching for tender grass and tasty dandelion leaves to nibble. If so, take a few moments to watch them. If you have a glass plate or petri dish, put a woolly bear in it and watch how they walk. If you have a sandy area, put a woolly bear down and see what sort of tracks it makes.
Then help it get to a green and grassy place because soon, very soon, Bella will spin a cocoon and change into an Isabella Tiger Moth. And then, one day later this summer, she’ll lay her eggs that will hatch into baby woolly bears.
Pringle gives us a great view into the every day life of a common caterpillar, and Joan Paley's bright and bold illustrations are perfect for spring.
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