“ Genre: Junior Book / Author: Edward Hardy / Paperback / Publication Date: 2012 / Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd „
There's a small fluffy white caterpillar called Fred who lives a pretty idyllic existence hidden by the dandelions, cotton-wool balls and fluffy white sheep. Unfortunately, Fred likes to eat bright green leaves and these leave him very much exposed. Fred was never worried about this until the day that Gerald entered his life. This is because Gerald is a big mean crow who likes nothing better than eating little caterpillars for his dinner. Luckily though, Gerald is not that clever so there is just a chance that Fred will be able to outwit him. But how long can he hope to escape Gerald's grasping claws?
Fred, the fluffy, white caterpillar loves hiding and playing games as he is very good at camouflaging himself amongst dandelions and sheep. It's a bit dangerous when he tries to eat lush green leaves though as there is nowhere to hide. That's normally OK but one day Gerald, the crow, happens to catch sight of him and is determined to eat him. Fred will not give up without a fight though and scarpers off down the High Street. When Gerald catches up, he is only able to see a smart looking lady wearing a fluffy necklace. She says that she has not seen Fred so he moves on until he meets a man with grey straggly hair and lovely fluffy white eyebrows. He also has not seen Fred so Gerald moves on to ask a little girl with a fluffy white hair band and an elderly man with a big white moustache. Of course, any eagle eyed child will soon spot where Fred is hiding in all of the pictures but luckily Gerald does not.
Fred continues to just about avoid Gerald until finally he drifts down and lands on the crow's neck. It looks like that might be that apart from the fact that Gerald thinks that he has gained a lovely fluffy white scarf of which he is very proud. That is until he wakes up one day and discovers that the scarf has been replaced by a big white bow tie! It looks like Fred might be safe at last.
This is a lovely children's book and one that will help them learn about camouflage as well as the life cycle of a butterfly. Children will also love trying to spot Fred in many of the pictures and will probably delight in the fact that they can see him while silly Gerald can't. The story is well written and has some lovely phrases and description such as when Gerald discovers his new scarf:
'It was beautiful and soft, and he found it cosy and comforting to wear'
The way the words are set out on the page causes lots of interest too as some of these dance around, get bigger or smaller and are in bold or capitals; all of which add extra interest and enjoyment. The book is also written in a friendly chatty style and as there are quite a few repetitive elements in the story, small children are soon likely to want to join in.
The most important parts of this book though are the illustrations as these tell the true story of what is going on while Gerald tries to find Fred, with the little caterpillar cleverly concealed in most of the pictures. These are an absolute delight and the first time we read the book my daughter loved spotting Fred hiding.
Overall this is a wonderful picture book and one that I am sure many small children will enjoy sharing (and parents will likely enjoy it too!).
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk